Legend of Silver Creek senior living community breaks ground

A rendering of Legend Senior Living’s Legend at Silver Creek personal care and memory care residence in Cumberland County. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Legend Senior Living recently broke ground on its Legend at Silver Creek personal care and memory care residence in Cumberland County, with a projected opening of July 2023.

Campbell Commercial Real Estate Inc. said in a release that it handled the lease transaction for the 2.16-acre tract at 425 Lambs Gap Road, Hampden Township. Wohlsen Construction Co., Lancaster, is the general contractor for the project, which will include 75 personal care apartments and 20 memory care apartments housed in an 88,000-square-foot residence.

The Legend Senior Living website said the community will also feature such amenities as transportation to appointments, errands and scheduled excursions; weekly housekeeping visits; around-the-clock support; personalized care plans; programs, events and trips; a post office; a salon and spa; a movie theater; a recreation room; a fitness center; and visiting professional services (podiatry, x-ray and therapy, for example).

Wichita, Kansas-based Legend Senior Living owns and operates 43 Legend and Windsor residences in six states.

Silver Creek will be its fourth in the Keystone State. Two of the others – Legend of Lancaster and Legend of Lititz – are in central Pennsylvania

Willow Valley Communities solidifying plans for memory care facility

David Haverstick, special projects consultant for Willow Valley Communities, points out the independent living community’s new memory care center on a layout of the organization’s newest project. PHOTO/IOANNIS PASHAKIS

David Haverstick, special projects consultant for Willow Valley Communities, was visiting a retirement community in the Netherlands with his wife while researching different dementia care programs out of the country.

During a tour of the community the program was set in, the couple noticed a low-lying water feature that they thought the residents of the facility could fall into.

When Haverstick asked about the feature, the staff told him that there is no quality of life without risk.

That sentiment went on to help the West Lampeter Township, Lancaster County-based Willow Valley Communities set the groundwork for a memory care center that puts patient freedom first.

“(Senior care facilities) really deprive people of quality of life by locking them up and hiding them,” said Haverstick, who is consulting for the retirement community on a 7.5-acre facility for residents with dementia. “Should we be focusing on extending someone’s life with a terminal disease for years and years or is it better to give them happiness today?”

Willow Valley Communities already offers specialized care for its residents with dementia through its Cedar Brook nursing unit at The Glen.

Swiftly growing numbers of seniors looking for residential space, known as the ‘silver tsunami,’ caused Willow Valley Communities to look into creating additional space for its residents with dementia along with the community’s ever-growing general capacity

The community’s newest project includes not only expanding the living space available for people with dementia, but offers those residents freedom in a space made specifically for them and educational resources for Willow Valley Communities’ 2,400 residents.

“There was a thought that we need to be doing something special and innovative that is beyond our capacity to do alone, but that we could do in a partnership with residents and the broader community,” said Jeffrey Kenderdine, executive director of the Willow Valley Communities Charitable Foundation, the community’s nonprofit tasked with raising funds for the project.

Expected to house a total of 140 people diagnosed with dementia, the memory care center’s current plans paint a picture of a facility laid out like a city. Residents will either live in one of five buildings laid out around a single courtyard like a neighborhood or a connected indoor building acting as the city’s downtown.

Residents of the center will be able to roam the courtyard and the connected building, which will house everything from two different restaurants and an ice cream parlor to a salon, meditation area and grocery store.

The residents will still be monitored 24/7 by staff, but the center itself will be naturally fenced in by both the homes and the center to keep them from leaving the grounds unattended.

Willow Valley Communities’ residents from outside of the center will be encouraged to use the facilities as well, which will help shed some of the stigma associated with having dementia, according to Juanita Angelini, the communities’ memory support resource coordinator.

“The point is to get residents to come in to help get rid of the stigma because for many years you wouldn’t talk about if you had dementia or your husband had dementia, it was embarrassing,” Angelini said. “We still have some of that stigma today so we want independent living to come in and break some of that.”

While the idea of having residents with dementia live together has been replicated at other communities, Kenderdine said that the blending of independent living and educational facility are unique to this project.

Willow Valley Communities is currently looking for either a medical center or local university to join it as a partner on the project. The partner would help provide resources at the center to help residents better understand the condition but would also allow for research to be done on the impacts of such a space on those with dementia.

“We have an opportunity to do things that the rest of the world should know about and we need to be associated with a leading research institution,” Haverstick said. “If we are going to lead the work, we have to share what we are doing.”

The center is planned to be built to the south of Willow Valley Communities’ Lakes campus in West Lampeter Township as a part of a bigger project including 88 villas and 120 luxury apartments.

A majority of the villas have already been sold to future residents and construction of that segment of the project will begin in September with the memory care center breaking ground in the next two years. The luxury apartment buildings have yet to be sold and do not have a scheduled construction date.

Willow Valley Communities expects to open the villas by next year. The memory care center’s main building is planned to be built first with the buildings in the neighborhood space built later but funding received through the community’s foundation for the project could change that timeline, according to Kenderdine.

The organization declined to give the estimated cost of the center’s construction.