Guest Column

Providing a compassionate lifeline for seniors in need

November 17, 2017
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The population of adults age 80 and above is expected to increase 30 percent, to 15.7 million, in the next eight years. The good news is older adults are living longer. The challenging result is they are experiencing more complex health issues, including Alzheimer’s disease that leads to dementia, which could put them at risk financially.

In 2016, the average annual cost of providing care to seniors with dementia was $47,000, which was more than three times greater than someone without. In our loved ones’ final years, the end-of-life costs for someone with dementia was an exorbitant $341,000.

Locally, the Alzheimer’s Association has estimated 220,000 people in Michigan will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Of those people, 92,000 of them will require care in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. In Kent and Ottawa counties alone, there will be 6,000 residents with dementia who will require care.

Sunset Retirement Communities and Services’ mission is to provide the highest-quality level of services and person-centered care for senior adults in a spirit of Christian love. Caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia requires a large investment and a highly trained, qualified staff.

In 2018, we are expanding the capacity of “Reflections,” our top-rated memory care facility at Sunset Manor & Villages in Jenison.

As we continue to welcome more residents to our communities, sometimes, through no fault of their own, they require financial support to continue receiving the compassionate care they need. Our Resident Benevolence honors our vulnerable seniors by allowing them to keep their home at Sunset.

On Oct. 27, we hosted our 2017 Gala at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville. This year’s event was our biggest yet. With a capacity crowd of 600 guests, we raised nearly $200,000 to benefit Resident Benevolence. The donations we receive are truly a lifeline.

This year’s Gala theme was “Neighbors.” Following the example of the Good Samaritan, we are good neighbors when we show compassion to anyone in need.

Steve Zuiderveen is president and CEO of Sunset Retirement Communities and Services.

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