Watermark Retirement Communities and Zom Senior Living Open the Watermark at Coral Gables

MIAMI, FL—The Watermark at Coral Gables is now open and welcoming new members to its independent living, assisted living and memory care accommodations. Developed in collaboration with ZOM Senior Living—the seniors housing division of ZOM Living, one of the nation’s leading luxury housing development firms—The Watermark at Coral Gables is the latest addition to Watermark Retirement Communities’ Élan Collection, its premier portfolio of luxury senior living communities. The community was built to feel like a high-end wellness resort, with amenities and programs designed to help sophisticated seniors live a vibrant, healthful lifestyle.

“We’re thrilled to open The Watermark at Coral Gables and welcome South Florida seniors to our newest Elan Collection community,” said David Freshwater, chairman of Watermark Retirement Communities. “The community itself is luxurious, inspired by Coral Gables’ historic architecture. Combined with our five-star level of care, The Watermark at Coral Gables truly redefines what retirement looks like.”

The Watermark at Coral Gables spans over 256,000 square feet, including 50,000 square feet of lifestyle-driven amenities, and features 198 apartments encompassing studios, one-bedroom units and two-bedroom apartments. It boasts the only rooftop pool at a senior living community in Coral Gables, flanked by a yoga lawn and lush gardens, as well as five restaurants and two full bars, catering to all meals and tastes. Furthermore, The Watermark at Coral Gables’ wellness program ensures members are cared for—mind, body and spirit. Additionally, members can learn a new language, explore a new hobby or share their own area of expertise through Watermark University’s robust calendar of programming.

“The experience we’re offering at The Watermark at Coral Gables is unparalleled in senior living,” said David Barnes, president of Watermark Retirement Communities. “The community not only engages members with programming, but encourages them to craft their own days and explore new passions and friendships. This freedom, we believe, is the key to an invigorating life.”

The Watermark at Coral Gables is located southwest of Miami, just steps from the upscale Shops at Merrick Park and a short drive from the pedestrian promenade Miracle Mile and the historic Biltmore Hotel. It’s surrounded by the historic ivy-covered mansions and stunning green spaces that have coined Coral Gables as “The City Beautiful.” Residents can easily catch a show at the Actors’ Playhouse at Miracle Theatre, explore art at the Coral Gables Museum, enjoy a classic film at the Coral Gables Arts Cinema or stroll through the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens.

The ownership for The Watermark at Coral Gables consists of a partnership between ZOM Living, one of the most highly regarded luxury housing developers in the United States, and Watermark Retirement Communities. Together, these leading companies embarked on the development of two luxury senior living communities, one in Coral Gables and the other in West Palm Beach, both breaking ground in the summer of 2020.

“As demand for premium-quality rental senior housing grows in South Florida, ZOM Senior Living is delighted to announce the opening of our second senior living community in the region in the past six months,” said Stephen Ordway, senior vice president of ZOM Senior Living. “The Watermark at Coral Gables embodies the luxurious living experience that has come to define ZOM Living—and now ZOM’s Senior Living—brands. From the beautiful Mediterranean design analogous with the City of Coral Gables to the sophisticated resort-style amenities, superb dining and educational programming, this community creates an environment where residents aspire to live and thrive.”

Local Couple’s Love of Music Gets Toes Tapping at the Fountains at Albemarle

TARBORO, NC—During the week, residents at The Fountains at Albemarle can be seen pulling up a chair, tapping their toes or humming along to a tune outside of Tom and Barbara Kane’s apartment. The couple, both 76 years old, turned their second bedroom at the Watermark Retirement Community into a music studio—and they often practice before their Saturday night concerts held in the community’s auditorium, giving their neighbors a sneak peek of what’s to come.

The Kanes are a musical duo known as “The Sweet Loves,” a nickname they were given by friends during their time studying at Florida State University. Their musical love story now has a new chapter at The Fountains at Albemarle, where they have lived since last June.

Every Saturday at 6:30 p.m., they play for a crowd of about 50. Their neighbors stop by to hear their favorite tunes from the 1930s to 1960s. Barbara plays the piano, while Tom handles percussion instruments such as the vibraphone, xylophone and marimba.

“We started to let our friends and neighbors know we were going to have a concert,” said Tom. “Now, it’s become a little bit of a thing. We have made a lot of friends through our music; there is a real sense of community here.”

Music has always been a big part of the Kanes’ lives. They even met through music; Tom was in the college marching band and Barbara was in the orchestra. According to Tom, after “making eyes with each other” while practicing music for school, a joint friend finally introduced them under the stage during their sophomore year. They were married in their senior year.

“Music has been a part of every experience we have together,” said Tom. “We want to share our love for music with others who enjoy it. We just love what we do and feel as though we are getting more out of our concerts than what we are giving.”

Although married for 55 years, the couple never played music together until fairly recently. Barbara earned a master’s degree in music education and taught music and orchestra at schools. Tom graduated with a master’s in city planning and, after working as a city planner for many years, became a software engineer. But, during the pandemic, they turned the extra time together into an opportunity to start playing music.

“We got tired of listening to ourselves, so we moved to Albemarle and now have others listen to us,” said Tom. He and Barbara moved to the community last June. Previously, Barbara’s parents were residents, and she would visit every day and play the piano for the memory care unit. She even donated her piano to the community. Now, a second piano of Barbara’s and Tom’s xylophone sit in the auditorium.

“We were afraid our music would be too loud for our neighbors when we moved here,” said Tom. “But people walk down the hall and stop to tell us how good the music sounds. There’s a lady on the other side of the wall next to us, and she loves hearing our music and has become best friends with Barbara.”

“Tom and Barbara have brought new energy to our community, creating a standing event on Saturday nights that so many of our residents look forward to attending,” said Julie Daugherty, executive director of The Fountains at Albemarle. “We feel like we have the hottest ticket in town, right here in our retirement community.”

Livingston Mayor Joins Spring Hills President/CEO and More To Cut the Ribbon Opening Spring Hills Livingston

LIVINGSTON, NJ—The Livingston, NJ community came out to support the ribbon cutting of the brand-new Spring Hills Livingston, part of the new Spring Hills Opulence Collection. Mayor Michael Vieira and Deputy Mayor Al Anthony helped Alexander Markowits, president/CEO of Spring Hills, and one of the founding residents, Joyce Farinella, cut the official ribbon. At the celebration, attendees enjoyed listening to Al Sapienza and Donna Deborah Rennard sing a favorite song from Phantom of the Opera. They also had fun talking to Sapienza about his days as Mikey Palmice on The Sopranos. A champagne toast, delicious appetizers and tours of the new Opulence Collection community had everyone who attended in awe!

Spring Hills, a trusted name in senior living for over 24 years—offering independent living, assisted living, memory care and home care services—is excited to be part of the Livingston, NJ community. Opulence Collection’s Spring Hills Livingston brings an innovative balance of atmosphere, resort-like amenities, quality care and personalized services to the community where “Luxury Meets Lifestyle so You Can Live Happy.”

Spring Hills Livingston is located at 346 East Cedar St., Livingston, NJ, 07039.

Watermark Retirement Communities Appoints Mariano Perez as Executive Director of the Hacienda Mission San Luis Rey

OCEANSIDE, CA—Watermark Retirement Communities has appointed Mariano Perez as executive director at The Hacienda Mission San Luis Rey, a new luxury senior living community set to open in September 2023.

“The Hacienda is an extraordinary senior living community like no other that captures the laid-back coastal lifestyle of Oceanside. We are pleased to attract industry leaders like Mariano, who brings a wealth of experience and vision to guide us through the opening and into the community’s future success,” said David Freshwater, chairman of Watermark Retirement Communities. “We have seen an enthusiastic response from the community for the vibrant lifestyle offered at The Hacienda, which reaffirms our position as an innovator and leader in the future of senior living.”

Prior to joining The Hacienda, Perez had led top luxury senior living communities across the U.S. as general manager and executive director, including Merrill Gardens, Meridian Senior Living, Sunrise Senior Living and Aegis Living.

“As we offer future residents a community where they can thrive in a lifestyle of choice with best-in-class care, we are committed to continuing the welcoming tradition of the historic Mission San Luis Rey,” said Perez. “I am honored and excited to lead this incredible community.”

The Hacienda is unique among other Watermark communities in that it is nestled on the campus of the historic Mission Luis Rey itself, allowing residents to soak in the serenity, history and natural beauty of the area.

Future members will enjoy a service- and amenity-rich community. Private studio and one- and two-bedroom residences in a brand-new building architecturally inspired by the Mission in the Spanish Revival style are available on a monthly rental basis with no long-term commitment. Apartments feature modern kitchenettes or full kitchens, high-end appliances and upscale finishes.

Watermark will bring its highly-trained associates to provide custom care, personal assistance and its award-winning programs—such as Watermark University, where residents can continue learning, growing and achieving wellness. Other unique programs include EngageVR, a virtual reality program that uses computer technology to create interactive virtual experiences that transport you to another place and time and allows you to see the world in a completely new way.

Watermark Retirement Communities and ZOM Senior Living Open the Watermark at West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, FL—The Watermark at West Palm Beach is now open, welcoming seniors to experience vibrant downtown living among West Palm Beach’s world-renowned cultural attractions, high-end shopping and fine dining. Developed in partnership with ZOM Senior Living—the seniors housing division of ZOM Living, one of the nation’s leading luxury housing development firms—the new community offers independent living, assisted living and memory care accommodations across its 154 apartments. The Watermark at West Palm Beach is the latest addition to Watermark Retirement Communities’ prestigious Élan Collection of communities crafted with the mindset of a luxury wellness resort.

“We’re excited to continue growing throughout South Florida with the opening of The Watermark at West Palm Beach,” said David Freshwater, chairman of Watermark Retirement Communities. “West Palm Beach offers everything today’s sophisticated seniors want, including easy access to travel and proximity to dining, shopping, arts, culture and world-class medical care. Our new luxury community is the perfect addition to this neighborhood and will provide South Florida seniors with a joyful, fulfilling lifestyle.”

Spanning over 245,000 square feet, The Watermark at West Palm Beach encompasses studios, one-bedroom units and two-bedroom apartments. Members can enjoy four distinct restaurants, each offering a variety of gourmet dishes, as well as a rooftop pool on the fifth floor surrounded by lush greenery and ample seating for relaxing and socializing. The community’s integrative wellness program cares for members’ minds, bodies and spirits, and a robust list of programming through Watermark University ensures members continue learning, exploring and sharing their ideas and passions with their neighbors.

“We believe in building extraordinary communities that provide seniors with the opportunity to thrive and live life to its fullest. The Watermark at West Palm Beach epitomizes our ethos,” said David Barnes, president of Watermark Retirement Communities. “This community is the perfect starting location for members to explore the culture and beauty of South Florida, returning home to experience the utmost care and support from a dedicated staff.”

The ownership for The Watermark at West Palm Beach consists of a partnership between ZOM Living, one of the most highly regarded luxury housing developers in the United States, and Watermark Retirement Communities.

“With The Watermark at West Palm Beach, ZOM Senior Living is delivering a superior senior living experience as demand for high-quality rental senior living communities continues to rise in South Florida,” said Steve Ordway, senior vice president of ZOM Senior Living. “Marking the delivery of our third senior living community in Florida, the property features a sophisticated design, upscale amenities and unique dining and lifestyle programming to create a holistic living oasis in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach. We are grateful for our partnership with Watermark Retirement Communities, which will be providing outstanding senior living and care services to our members.”

Tables and umbrellas on an outdoor patio

Earning a Health and Safety Certification

Late last year, Claiborne Senior Living was awarded the WELL Health-Safety Rating by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). WELL is a building standard that focuses on people’s wellness.

According to IWBI’s website, “WELL applies the science of physical and social environments to benefit the health, well-being and performance of your people.” The certification was awarded through IWBI’s WELL v2, which is the latest version of the WELL standard.

Tim Dunne headshot

Tim Dunne, CEO of Claiborne Senior Living

Claiborne first came across IWBI and WELL ratings during a senior living conference. “While the exposure was brief, the idea was alluring,” said Tim Dunne, CEO of Claiborne Senior Living, which has 10 communities across Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina.

Then, Claiborne mentioned the initiative during a discussion with one of their partners, Sabra Health Care REIT. They’re a real estate investment trust company and a leader in environmental, social and corporate governance. Sabra Health Care encouraged Claiborne to learn more.

“After a good amount of research and several months of discovery, we submitted our application to become WELL [Health-Safety] certified at all Claiborne communities,” Dunne said. “As we learned more, we realized the standards set by this certification would raise the bar for our communities and help us provide a healthier environment for our employees, residents and family members.”

He continued on. “In our mission statement, we state our commitment to enhancing the lives of our employees, residents and families we serve,” Dunne said. “The WELL Health-Safety Rating recognizes commitments to promoting safer and healthier environments for employees and residents. It seemed to be a natural alignment.”

In order to earn the Health-Safety Rating, communities have to implement certain features in their communities. Dunne expressed that as Claiborne began to learn about those features, they realized that many of them were already in place in their communities.

“In accordance with our mission statement, we already had many policies/procedures that encouraged a safer and healthier environment for our employees, residents and families/visitors,” he said. “[So] we had already incorporated several design elements that make our communities healthier and/or safer, and some of these met or exceeded the WELL standard.”

A few of those elements were smoke-free campuses, moisture management and robust emergency preparedness plans.

“From there, we reviewed the remaining features and categorized them into immediate, short-term, and long-term buckets,” Dunne said. “We [also] completed an in-depth review of several areas of our business and our communities.”

He noted that the process to earn the WELL Health-Safety Rating can involve a (significant) time and financial investment. So, as Dunne explained, the company decided to focus on three things: what features would have the biggest impact, what they could take on financially at the moment and how they could plan for the future.

Claiborne decided to first concentrate on the immediate and short-term features.

“Teams went on-site and assessed the community’s needs or status for the features we were pursuing.  These teams were empowered to make immediate changes to bring the communities up to standard,” Dunne said. “With community education, signage creation, modification of touch points to touchless, chemical replacements, ventilation system performance, etc., they were able to bring each community up to standard within a matter of a few short months.”

For example, Claiborne brainstormed how to reduce contact points to prevent the spread of diseases. They conducted an in-depth review of the community’s touch points—including doors, railings, buttons, handles, and devices.

Then, they made touchless modifications where possible, such as installing touchless faucets and paper dispensers and adding foot door openers. As for the touch points that couldn’t be made touchless, they made sure that the community’s cleaning protocols thoroughly covered those areas.

An exercise room in one of the communities

Exercise equipment and workout rooms promote physical activity

Other project features included humidity control; promoting movement, physical activity and active living; waste management; mental health support and education; and restorative spaces, support and programs.

“Each of the features has an ability to impact the health and safety of employees, residents and families,” Dunne began. “For example, proper infection control can limit the spread of diseases. Minimizing unnecessary touch points when coupled with proper infection control further reduces the opportunity for the spread of diseases. Add in proper ventilation with adequate exhaust, fresh air intake and filtration, and the risk continues to minimize.”

An outdoor pool at one of the communities

An outdoor pool also encourages physical activity and can serve as a restorative space

He explained that while none of the features alone are 100% effective, combining a number of them together increases the health and safety of the place and the people within it.

“[This] becomes even more important for those in our care who are in a weakened state or have a compromised immune system,” Dunne said. “These features and practices are now audited routinely by team members to ensure continued compliance—as well as to identify future areas of opportunity.”

After all of the features were implemented, each Claiborne community had to undergo thorough testing and an evaluation to earn the WELL Health-Safety Rating.

“[We made sure to] strategically implement and verify each feature across all our communities,” Dunne said. “These evaluations took place over several months [and] required multiple community visits, photographic evidence, copies of policies modified/implemented, etc.”

But, all in all, he noted that the initiative is worthwhile and important.

“Companies will do well to incorporate the principles of WELL that complement a sound business strategy, while remaining focused on their mission,” Dunne said.

Erin Partridge Joins the Enso Village Team as Head of Inspirement

HEALDSBURG, CA—Enso Village, a Zen-inspired senior living community developed by The Kendal Corporation and San Francisco Zen Center, recently welcomed Erin Partridge as the community’s head of inspirement. This position will serve a critical role on the resident experience team, with accountability for whole-life engagement oversight. Partridge will focus on coordinating research programs and relationships with external educational and research institutions—including the internship and fellowship programs—in order to further develop resident programming.

“I am beyond excited to step forward as head of inspirement for Enso Village,” shared Partridge. “I am eager to support residents in this next chapter as they explore their intellectual, physical, creative, environmental and social well-being through lived experiences at Enso Village.”

Partridge is an artist as well as a board-certified registered art therapist who teaches and supervises research in several art therapy programs. Additionally, she is a forest therapy guide certified by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy. Her clinical experience includes work in community, pediatric, forensic and geriatric settings. She is published in art therapy, arts access, elder care, gender, research methods, professional development and technology. Her research interests incorporate lived experience and focus on participatory, ethnographic and art-based approaches.

“Erin’s role as head of inspirement will ensure focus on spiritual and physical well-being for the residents of Enso Village,” said Rosemary Jordan, CEO of Enso Village. “We are confident that Erin’s experience directly reflects her compatibility with our mission to provide an engaging community by following the teachings of wisdom and contemplative care.”

A seasoned professional with over 16 years spent working with individuals through art therapy, Partridge earned her master’s degree from New York University. She continued her education and graduated from Notre Dame de Namur University with a doctor of philosophy in art therapy.

Enso Village is presently under construction in Healdsburg, CA and will open to residents in the fall of 2023.

Charter Kicks off Eversound With Silent Disco

Committed to finding creative ways to increase resident engagement and inclusivity in a variety of on-campus events and activities, Charter Senior Living and Eversound have teamed up to support 46 silent discos across the country the week of March 24th through the 31st.  Our silent disco is an amazing opportunity to not only host a unique event that showcases the power of this technology, but also an excuse to throw a party!

Our theme this month, Living Life Out Loud, not only brings awareness to hearing loss and what happens to our brains cognitively when we ignore it, but also brings an opportunity for our community teams to facilitate programs utilizing Eversound’s incredible technology that enhances the resident’s ability to hear and actively participate. Eversound’s advanced listening systems use proprietary audio technology to help residents hear clearly in activity programming and conversations. Designed specifically for seniors, their systems provide an enhanced listening experience for residents, while improving outcomes in care, satisfaction and engagement.

“Whether it’s cooking demonstrations, music programs, exercising or taking a virtual tour, Eversound has opened exciting ways for our seniors to be captivated with a whole new world around them that enhances creativity, provides encouragement and boosts inspiration,” shared Dawn Irvine, memory care director at Chart of Oak Openings. “Eversound has [also] allowed our residents to feel heard and included during their interactions with family members (not just programming). The families praise the addition to their one-on-one visits, allowing elevated meaningful moments (#Evermoments) that keep us all connected!”

At Charter, we continue to build daily activities and programming that focuses on all aspects of our resident’s wellness—cognitive, creative, community, motivation, physical, social and spiritual. Life at Charter is active, friendly and supportive. Residents enjoy a sense of purpose and belonging—along with fun, personalized care—and a focus on well-being.

Anthem Memory Care Appoints Community Relations Director for Tumwater, WA Community

Laura Lopez has been named community relations director for The Hampton, an Anthem Memory Care community in Tumwater, WA. In this position, she will be responsible for community outreach and marketing.

Lopez previously was a hospice liaison for Bristol Hospice Thurston in Lacey, WA. She was also marketing director and admissions coordinator for Roo-Lan Health and Rehab in Olympia, WA. She brings over five years of health care marketing experience to this position.

The Hampton is located at 1400 Trosper Rd. SW, Tumwater, WA.

The Kendal Corporation Welcomes Jessica Buhler as Corporate Director of Communications and Public Relations

NEWARK, DE—The Kendal Corporation is pleased to announce Jessica Buhler as the corporate director of communications and public relations. Buhler’s role will contribute to providing a wide range of communication services to the corporate office and Kendal affiliates. This involves contributing to the public awareness of the organization through leading public relations efforts, written communications, website support, social media strategy, crisis communications and more.

Buhler is a seasoned professional with deep roots in the fields of senior living and aging services, with over 20 years of career experience in communications and marketing management. Previously, she worked for over eight years as the director of marketing, sales and public relations for Kendal at Lexington, an affiliate of Kendal in Virginia. In that role, Buhler managed all aspects of the community’s marketing, sales and public relations efforts.

Prior to joining the Kendal team, Buhler worked for state and national organizations in public policy, communications, membership development, training and research on issues affecting older adults. She primarily focused on issues concerning affordable housing and options for long-term care. She holds a master’s degree in management and organizational leadership from Antioch University.

“The Kendal Corporation is excited to welcome Jessica into her new position,” shared Amy Harrison, the interim chief executive officer of Kendal. “Kendal is dedicated to advancing our mission of serving older adults. We carry confidence knowing that Jessica’s leadership will contribute to how deeply our mission resonates with our audiences and to the success of the communication initiatives led by affiliates.”