New assisted living facility opens in CK

"There’s a new face in town, one that caters to individuals suffering from memory loss.It is Alterra Clare Bridge, an assisted living facility on Ridgetop Boulevard and Tower View Circle N.W. Clare Bridge accepted its first resident on July 19, though it held both grand opening celebrations over the weekend. By Aug. 1, 15 individuals will take residence in Clare Bridge, with one or two a week moving in until the facility is full. Clare Bridge community services director Jenelle Peterson said the residence is structured to foster self-esteem and lower depression in individuals dealing with memory loss. “We want people to feel as capable and independent as possible,” Peterson said. “It’s extremely easy with the early stages of memory loss for residents to start feeling depression.”Clare Bridge Silverdale is the fifth Alterra residence opened in Washington since November 1998. The corporation operates assisted living residences in more than 31 states, housing 13,000 individuals.Clare Bridge charges $3,600 for everything from bedding to food for a single room. The cost is slightly less, $3,000 a month, for a shared room. Of the six shared rooms available at Clare Bridge, only two are unfilled.The facility is divided into two communities: the Clare community and the Bridge community. Clare is geared toward individuals where memory loss is mild, while Bridge caters to people with more advanced memory loss. Peterson said the staff tailors care, activities and food for different needs.Clare Bridge can accommodate up to 52 residents, with seven or eight living in each neighborhood inside the building. Peterson said the neighborhoods were developed to make it easier for people with memory challenges to find their way back home – they have names like “Hunter Green Court” and “Russet Court” that color coordinate with the carpet in their area.Each room has a bathroom inside, though showers and bathing facilities are located in a common space. Peterson said close-at-hand toilet facilities can be important with people who have memory loss because “sometimes the only occasion the memory lapse occurs is when they can’t find a bathroom.”The lobby area is set up like a town square, with storefronts for coffee shops and a beauty parlor. “The idea is to give residents a sense of community. For people who like to wander, it gives them a place to go. It cuts down on their sense of frustration,” Peterson said. For example, Peterson said one resident in another Alterra facility had a routine for his professional life where he would go to the bank, buy a cup of coffee and then go to work. At the Alterra facility, he would go to the front desk (which acted as his banker), get a cup of coffee and then carry on with is day. “His frustration went way down. We’re aiming to give residents a sense that ‘my life is normal,’” Peterson said.The facility offers other special features to put residents’ and family members’ minds at ease. The emergency exits are set up with an internal door and an external door – when passed through, the internal door sets off an alarm notifying aides, and the external door has a 15-second delay that sounds a loud, buzzing alarm.“With the alarm, we don’t have to worry about the residents getting confused and getting lost,” Peterson said.That’s of particular concern in winter and summer months, when an extended, unsupervised trip outdoors can mean frostbite or heat stroke. "

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