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.”

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.

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.”

Waltonwood Senior Living Completes 5,000 Random Acts of Kindness

WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI—Premier senior living brand Waltonwood, run by family-owned company Singh, announced last week that its communities have completed 5,000 random acts of kindness as part of a company-wide initiative to promote well-being and positive community impact. The initiative, which started in February and has continued throughout the year, has been a huge success, demonstrating the positive impact that small acts of kindness can have on seniors, their families and the broader community.

Director of life enrichment for Waltonwood communities, Lindsay Charlefour, emphasized the positive effects of this initiative on residents’ mental and emotional health. “Studies have shown that acts of kindness can boost happiness, reduce stress and anxiety and improve overall well-being,” she said. “By encouraging our residents and staff to engage in acts of kindness, we are promoting a culture of positivity and creating a more connected, supportive community.”

Sara Bailey, senior regional director of sales for Waltonwood, echoed Charlefour’s sentiments, noting that small acts of kindness can have a big impact on seniors and their families. “Simple gestures like a smile, a kind word or a thoughtful note can brighten someone’s day and create a ripple effect of positivity,” she said. “Through this initiative, we hope to inspire our residents and staff to continue practicing kindness and creating a more compassionate world year-round.”

Each Waltonwood community’s team members and residents have been coming up with their own kindnesses through their words, actions, special skills or group efforts, such as volunteering at local charities or sending care packages to service members overseas. These acts of kindness have not only benefited seniors and their families, but they have also created positive community impact.

Waltonwood community neighborhoods are located in North Carolina, Virginia and Michigan. The communities in North Carolina include Waltonwood Cary Parkway in Cary, Waltonwood Cotswold in Charlotte and Waltonwood Lake Boone in Raleigh. Waltonwood Ashburn is located in Ashburn, VA. The communities in Michigan include Waltonwood Carriage Park and Waltonwood Cherry Hill in Canton, Waltonwood Twelve Oaks in Novi, Waltonwood Main in Rochester, Waltonwood University in Rochester Hills, Waltonwood Royal Oak in Royal Oak and Waltonwood Lakeside in Sterling Heights.

Meaghan Walkup Named Regional Director of Operations of The Springs Living

MCMINNVILLE, OR—Meaghan Walkup has been appointed regional director of operations for southern Oregon for The Springs Living. In this role, she is responsible for developing regional and local business strategies, evaluating and implementing policies and procedures, and providing support for executive directors at select senior living communities in Oregon.

“Leading with firsthand knowledge of what it means to serve residents, their families and staff, Meaghan has a dedicated focus on nurturing high standards for workplace culture and operational excellence,” said Brenda Connelly, president of The Springs Living. “Having held a variety of frontline positions gives her a firsthand understanding of the important roles staff have on impacting the lives of residents.”

Walkup has led The Springs at Anna Maria in Medford, OR as executive director for 12 years. Before becoming executive director, she served in a variety of positions at the community, including dining room supervisor, community relations director and health care administrator. She started working at the community 17 years ago as a shuttle bus driver. In 2022, Meaghan was the recipient of the Oregon Health Care Association’s Leadership Excellence award.

Charter Senior Living Restructures To Continue Providing a Hands-On Approach to Operations

NAPERVILLE, IL—When Keven J. Bennema launched Charter Senior Living seven years ago, he made a commitment to invest in a more hands-on leadership support team. This approach would allow them to be dedicated to traveling to each community with internal support, rather than overseeing operations from a corporate office.

He says this approach has allowed for more consistent communication on every level. “We’re able to stay more connected to associates and identify red flags earlier,” Bennema said. “Because the leadership team is traveling and advising at the actual communities rather than in an office, we’re assured that we’re meeting more of the needs of our residents and the people working within each of our communities.”

Because Charter does not have a corporate office, it allows every support team member to visit communities. Even Bennema and his wife, Kim, have traveled up to five months out of the year in his Tiffin motorhome to meet with residents and employees and work on the front lines—and even help with day-to-day activities.

Charter Senior Living will continue to keep this approach by restructuring its leadership team and adding additional regional support to continue providing that hands-on approach that Bennema is an advocate for. The company is announcing senior living veteran and current COO Jayne Sallerson as the new president/COO. Bennema will remain the company’s CEO. Sallerson has worked with Charter for five years. Prior to this, she worked for well-known senior living providers, including Benchmark Senior Living and Emeritus Senior Living.

“Jayne’s commitment to enhancing the human spirit of our residents and our team members is truly inspiring,” said Bennema. “Her extensive experience in the senior living space and her advocacies for improving the lives of older adults are paving the way for future leaders in this industry. We’re fortunate to have her on our team and are grateful for her service.”

“Charter Senior Living has always been a key contributor in transforming the field of aging, and through our reputation, we’ve been able to grow over the previous seven years,” said Sallerson. “This new structure allows me to focus on achieving our strategic initiatives and continue to strengthen Charter’s strong, employee-centric culture. I’m thrilled to continue working with such an enthusiastic team and seeing the operational impact we’ll continue to make at our communities.”

Along with appointing Sallerson as president, the senior living provider has added two new leadership positions to the growing company. Cathy Hampton has been promoted to vice president of operations, and Leslie Eldridge has been named regional director of new developments.

Hampton has been with Charter for nearly five years, working as senior regional director of operations. In her new position, she’ll oversee all regional directors of operations, as well as the director of programming and memory care and the director of dining services.

Eldridge will transition from her previous position as regional director of operations. Her transition will allow the regional director of operations to focus on existing operating communities and have a dedicated resource focusing on new developments.

“Our goal is to ensure we can maintain our hands-on approach to operating communities,” stated Sallerson.

Today, Charter Senior Living is developing and managing 47 senior living communities in 13 states. More than 2,200 seniors live at these communities at any given time.

Evans Park at Newton Corner $13 Million Renovation To Transform Historic Landmark

NEWTON CORNER, MA—Evans Park at Newton Corner, a Benchmark Senior Living assisted living and mind and memory care community, announced earlier this week a $13 million renovation project to modernize the 30-year-old assisted living with memory care community in Newton, MA. The project will create more spaces for residents to connect with one another and focus on their overall health and relaxation, as well as provide more modern apartments.

The project is also honoring the building’s rich history, which dates back to 1905, by adding external lighting to highlight unique architectural features. Built by famed developer Warren Evans, The Evans—as it was first known—was considered to be the most beautiful apartment complex in the city. Every convenience and luxury were offered, including fine dining by an acclaimed chef.

“By transforming our resident dining experience, modernizing apartments and introducing more communal spaces, we want to honor the great history of this community, which has been a fixture in many of our residents’ lives. The renovation will uniquely blend historic charm with modern design,” said Susan Cohen Cwieka, regional director of operations for Benchmark. “Residents and their families will enjoy new spaces in which they can stay connected to who and what matters most.”

Some of the many extended living spaces that residents and their loved ones will be able to enjoy include:

  • Restaurant-style formal dining prepared in an open kitchen and a new casual bistro
  • New solarium designed to bring the vibrant outdoors in
  • Modern hair salon providing nail services and massage therapy
  • Wellness suite offering the convenience of on-site medical visits
  • Fitness center featuring specialized equipment and exercise classes
  • Recreation room for events, including parties, art therapy and concerts

Independent assisted living apartments will include amenities like upgraded kitchenettes with new appliances, newly appointed bathrooms, granite countertops and new flooring and lighting. The community’s fourth floor memory care assisted living apartments will be enlarged, and bathrooms that can accommodate wheelchairs and other safety features will be added.

All spaces will feature interior design by Boston-based Stefura Associates, creators of award-winning transitional design for places like the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Massachusetts State House. At Evans Park, clean earth tones—including vibrant greens, rich browns and warm grays—will adorn all shared spaces and corridors.

“Evans Park at Newton Corner was one of the first communities I developed almost 30 years ago,” said Tom Grape, founder, chairman and CEO of Benchmark. “It was the first in Massachusetts created for assisted living, and it’s been a beloved part of Newton Corner ever since. We are excited to honor such an important landmark by investing further in beautiful new living spaces and expanding amenities for our residents and their families to enjoy for years to come.”

Over the past couple of years, Benchmark has invested heavily in the Newton area. In 2020, Benchmark transformed another Newton historical landmark—the former Andover Newton Theological School, which dates back to the 1700s—to open Adelaide of Newton Centre. Last year, Benchmark completed an $11 million renovation of The Falls at Cordingly Dam in Newton Lower Falls, MA.

Evans Park at Newton Corner was designed by Lexington, MA-based Bechtel Frank Erickson. The general contractor is South Coast Improvement in Marion, MA.

The complete renovation is expected to debut in early 2024.