Focus, Health Care, and Real Estate

First & Main brings small town vibe to senior communities

The assisted living and memory care complex in Wyoming is the first of many that are planned.

June 26, 2015
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First & Main
The senior living community First & Main of Metro Health Village features a large atrium that allows residents to interact or make use of quiet space for personal activities. Courtesy First & Main

An assisted living and memory care community anticipated to open this fall will not only provide clinical care, but also main street amenities and technology.

First & Main of Metro Health Village, 5812 Village Drive SW, Wyoming, is opening its doors Aug. 14 to an upscale senior living community that incorporates health care, hospitality and “downtown” living.

Designed to emulate the energy and convenience of a walkable village square, First & Main’s space incorporates an in-house chapel, theater, salon, bistro and patio, fitness center, and a courtyard with a putting green and raised gardens.

Julie Bouma, executive director at First & Main of Metro Health Village, said the community has created an upscale residential environment with a warm, well-connected and vibrant design to bring residents together.

“People will feel the difference the moment they arrive. We were able to eliminate the institutional feel you find in so many senior living facilities while offering expert care supported by powerful technology,” said Bouma.

“It was built to be Small Town U.S.A.”

Valued at roughly $22.5 million, the more than 101,000-square-foot facility has 102 living units, including two floors of private assisted-living suites and a third floor dedicated to memory care residents.

All of the rooms at First & Main operate on a month-to-month lease basis.

The community is licensed for up to 171 residents, since a number of the rooms are apartment suites, according to Bouma.

At full capacity, First & Main will have a staff of approximately 80 employees, including a registered nurse serving as director of health and wellness, who will oversee all of the clinical staff, plus medical technicians, licensed practical nurses and resident assistants.

“I really like to hire nursing students or people going into the health care field. I think nursing students make really good employees in this field; they are getting experience, they are learning from us, and they really care about what they are doing,” said Bouma.

“We will hopefully have some students from Grand Valley or Davenport, and they will go through our extensive training,” she added.

Some of the services provided for all residents at First & Main are 24-hour staffing, chef-prepared meals, assistance with digital communication, apartment and suite maintenance, housekeeping, activities and wellness, transportation to physician appointments, and reminders and assistance to dinner.

“We have what is called HUR: It’s the exercise equipment we will be using. We have an exercise room and this equipment (uses) air pressure,” said Bouma.

“It is programmed for residents. The machine works with them and it doesn’t hurt their joints. That equipment has been shown to help people with their balance and stop them from falling. If we can help people regain their balance, they won’t fall as much and they won’t injure themselves as much.”

First & Main also has a number of amenities and features designed not only to promote active engagement from residents and communication with physicians and family members, but also safety and security.

“We want people to stay connected with their families. One of our rooms is a business office because so many people went to work every day, and we have an office space with computers,” said Bouma.

“We are going to teach them how to Skype, and we want all of our residents to have a Facebook page so as they are doing things throughout the day, we can take pictures and post it to their page so families can stay connected. I think that is huge.”

Key technology features incorporated into the design of the community for safety and security include: digitally encoded or radio frequency wristbands, which provide secure and limited access to resident suites; electronic resident health record and medication management; and service pendants that alert clinical team members through mobile devices when a resident is in need.

“What sets us apart by being brand new is we can use all of the technology that is out there. We are using RFID bands instead of keys so the residents will wear a band that will get them in doors, and it will also stop them from going into parts of the building we deem unsafe,” said Bouma.

“It will also stop them from wandering into other people’s rooms, which happens when people start to have memory care issues,” she said.

Other technology features include a quiet care system, which is a discreet movement-sensing technology that learns a resident’s behavior patterns and then alerts the care team when the pattern is significantly altered. Circadian rhythm lighting and self-darkening windows are used on the third floor for memory care residents.

There is also a security check-in upon walking into First & Main.

“Security is a huge thing. When walking into the building, they have to come through what we call Accushield. Everybody puts in their phone number, and it lets us know who is in the building, and it does a small background check on them the first time,” said Bouma.

“With the quiet care system, no matter where (residents) are in the building, they can push their button and we know where they are.”

First & Main of Metro Health Village was designed by Hobbs + Black Architects and Spacewerks Inc., which is a Granger Group company. Granger Construction built the project.

The new Wyoming-based senior living development is managed by First & Main Senior Living and is the company’s first community to open in the state.

First & Main Senior Living has partnered with Atlanta-based Thrive Senior Living to serve as a standard in terms of senior living amenities, technology, care and management practices. The company plans to expand its operations to additional locations in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and throughout the Midwest region.

“First & Main is a new brand, and the Wyoming location here at the Metro Health Village is the first of many to come. Within the next 30 to 60 days, they are looking at breaking ground on the next three to four of them, which will be in the Detroit area and then in Ohio,” said Bouma.

“This is the first one. We are branding it, which is really cool.”

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