Building on Innovation: Styles of Living

Building on Innovation: Styles of Living

Katie Christensen, Director, Long-Term Support & Services

One of the most significant advances in our history is the expansion of styles of living. When Meth-Wick opened in 1961, residents had two care options. Every resident lived in The Manor, the only building on campus at the time, and received help with their daily housekeeping needs. If someone needed extra medical attention, they would move into the fourth-floor infirmary administered by St. Luke’s Hospital.

That model of care was innovative at the time. But people change. Older adults today are more creative with their plans for their retirement years. Yes, our needs change as we age. Today’s seniors want options for care when that time comes but wish to remain independent for as long as possible. The five styles of living we offer today reflect those desires.

This month we’re sitting down with Katie Christensen, Director of Long-Term Support & Services, to learn about her role in the organization, Meth-Wick’s styles of living, and why it’s beneficial for residents to have so many options on one campus.

Q: How does Meth-Wick’s living styles make it more innovative than other senior living options?

A: Our residents have so many options for care that they never have to worry about moving again, even if their lifestyle or health care needs change. That’s what sets us apart. Meth-Wick accommodates residents needs as they shift over time, all on one campus. Residents also have the option of receiving help within their homes through Meth-Wick Home & Health.

Q: You often see senior living facilities offering two or even three styles of living but not five. Why does Meth-Wick feel it’s important to give residents so many options?

A: We feel it’s important for residents to have the stability and support they need to remain wherever it is they call home. The campus offers independent living and provides amenities for different lifestyles, giving them access to higher levels of care should their medical needs progress. Our many social opportunities make it easy to connect with other residents and build a sense of community. When residents reach a point where they are no longer able to live independently, Meth-Wick has an excellent health services area which includes Independence Plus, Assisted Living for Physical Needs, Assisted Living for Memory Care, and Nursing Care.

Q: How have styles of living evolved over the years?

A: I have been working here at Meth-Wick for the last nine years. In that time, I have seen many innovations across campus. It seems like we are always busy updating areas and making improvements! Some of the things I have seen evolve include:

  • Updating Custom Care assisted living with larger units and modernized amenities including a spa area & dining area.
  • Expanding Home and Health Services. These services are available for residents on campus, and for residents within Linn County. Our Home and Health Department offers a variety of services including home care services, transportation services, nursing services, personal care aide services, and companion and chore services. Additional services are also available including blood pressure clinics, arrangement for speech, occupational, or physical therapy, and coordination of laboratory, podiatry, and audiology services available on campus.
  • Specialized dementia training for staff. Meth Arbor Place employees receive dementia training through Dementia Live. Dementia Live is a high impact, dementia simulation experience that immerses staff into a life with dementia, which helps them to better understand what it is like to live with a cognitive impairment and sensory change.

Q: Tell me a little about your role. What’s your favorite thing about working at Meth-Wick?

A: I am the Director of Long-Term Support & Services. I manage both assisted livings (Arbor Place & Custom Care) and oversee our Home and Health Department. I enjoy the relationships I make working with residents, family members and employees within my departments. It’s a joy to help new residents move to campus and settle into their new homes.

Q: How do you continue to innovate styles of living today?

A: Meth-Wick continues to make improvements throughout campus. Currently we are renovating Arbor Place, our memory care assisted living. The building will be updated throughout. Twelve apartments will be gaining showers within the units. Currently the building only has studio apartments, but we will be converting some of the units to one-bedroom apartments. We will gain a dedicated beauty salon, a new conference room, and a new staff break room. The renovations have started this March and residents and staff are looking forward to all the new updates!

Meth-Wick has been committed to providing residents with options since our inception in 1961 but that commitment has blossomed immensely in the years since. Do you want to continue living your life as it looks today, just without the headaches from maintaining a house? You’ve got options. Are you still independent but need a little help with daily tasks? We’ve got the place for you. Do you have an elderly family member in need of memory or nursing care? We have everything they need. Start making your plan for what’s to come by scheduling a tour at Meth-Wick today.

This article is part of the “Building on Innovation” series celebrating Meth-Wick Community’s 60th Anniversary serving older adults in Cedar Rapids. From 1961 to today, Meth-Wick has been an innovative leader in the senior living market. We will be exploring this theme throughout the year on our blog.


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