Brandywine Senior Living at Seaside Point is expanding its memory-care facility, building a new, two-story addition with 28 new apartments.
“We realized we are always having a wait list for the memory-care units,” Executive Director Donna Winegar said. “We have a wait list for assisted living now, too, and so we went to our corporate officers and said, ‘We’d really like an addition.’”
Winegar said once the new wing is built, 14 existing memory-care units in the main facility will be used for assisted living patients.
Work began in early December, but Winegar said construction is not expected to disrupt operations Seaside Boulevard facility, behind the Route 1 Giant.
The new wing will have roomy, 390-square foot apartments, a physical therapy room, and a solarium and sunroom on each end of the building, Winegar said. The wing will also be connected to the main building, allowing staff to easily move in and out of both facilities. Winegar said the main entrance area will be relocated to face the parking lot, improving access to the buildings.
Heidi McNeeley, director of community relations, said Brandywine's memory-care program is distinct from assisted living care. Memory care has its own staff, and patients have different needs than assisted living patients, she said.
According to statistics from the Alzheimer's Association, 14,000 Delaware seniors are affected by Alzheimer's disease. McNeeley said while she does not know the number of seniors countywide dealing with Alzheimer's and dementia, the need is so great that Brandywine consistently has a waiting list for its memory care services.
The 28,000-square-foot addition is expected to be open by fall 20114. Winegar said the new memory-care wing will accommodate up to 36 patients, if some patients are doubled up. The current facility has 96 units, McNeeley said. She said in addition to the new building, more parking will also be created, with a staff lot next to the addition. Visitor parking will be in the lot now shared by staff and visitors.
McNeeley said the new wing would provide more social space, something Brandywine considers important to memory care.
“Socialization is at the core of what we do. So many people become socially isolated once they start having health issues” McNeeley said.
She said Brandywine tries to allow patients to make their own choices, while encouraging them to socialize with peers. McNeeley said memory-care patients have more structured days than those in assisted living, but Brandywine still encourages them make some of their own decisions.
Winegar said there is a lot of excitement within the facility about the new wing.
“A lot of questions, ‘Can my mom move there? Can my mom have a new room?’” Winegar joked. “Our memory-care unit right now is really cramped. And especially the families with memory-care relatives cannot wait to see the new wing.”
Brandywine Senior Living is a private company with locations throughout the East Coast, with facilities in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. In Delaware, Brandywine has facilities in Rehoboth and Fenwick Island.
For more information on Brandywine Senior Living, call 226-8750 or go to www.brandycare.com.