Building on Innovation: Meth-Wick’s Future

Building on Innovation: Meth-Wick’s Future

Robin Mixdorf, President, Meth-Wick Community

Meth-Wick Community CEO Robin Mixdorf knows the needs and wants of older adults —Meth-Wick’s target audience—are constantly changing.

This year’s “Building on Innovation” series explored the many ways Meth-Wick has met those challenges since its earliest days. Now she joins us for a conversation about the future.

Q: How does Meth-Wick meet the changing tastes of each new generation of older adults?

The organization uses a two-pronged approach:

    1. Understand What the Consumer Wants. We listen to our consumers and utilize market research. Every generation of residents on campus have expressed their deep appreciation for the campus itself. The green space, well-tended and landscaped with walking paths and a bubbling pond, sets Meth-Wick apart from other options in our area. No matter what we build or renovate, all plans for the future preserve the peaceful and verdant environment on our grounds.
    1. Build Smart and Maintain Well. We must provide the right mix of new housing and services. But it’s just as important for us to maintain what we have. Meth-Wick boasts beautiful and spacious new living areas as well as meticulously reimagined 60-year-old resident spaces. We stay relevant to today’s older adults with this dual focus.

Q: Do you find more people are making the proactive decision to choose a senior living residence or do they move urgently for health reasons?

We often describe our resident as planners. New residents frequently tell me about friends whose children or doctors decided when and where they moved. That’s not how most older adults want their future decided so they choose to plan ahead. A Life Plan Community like ours is a natural fit for this type of person. Meth-Wick structured to provide any type of care a resident may need for the rest of their lives.

Q: What changes are you preparing for as an organization? What are some of the trends you see on the horizon?

Meth-Wick is a wellness campus with options for care. That has been and will continue to be our focus. But we also look to fill the gaps that exist in the network of care for older adults in Linn County. Some examples are:

  • The creation and subsequent expansion of specialty bariatric rooms for residents who are non-weight bearing.
  • The renovation of Arbor Place, where we will expand our dementia care services for the future.
  • We will soon be the only dementia facility in Cedar Rapids to feature a Tovertafel console. The Tovertafel is an award-winning, research-backed game system for individuals with dementia. Tovertafel means ‘Magic Table’ in Dutch.

Finally, our status as an employer of choice for healthcare workers remains one of our proudest achievements as a not-for-profit organization. Being a good employer involves not only offering quality benefits and wages but also remaining focused on the culture of the organization.

Q: Which style of living do you anticipate seeing the most growth in the next ten years?

Memory care remains an important style of living. According to the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association Report, 11% of Americans aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s or other dementias. That means approximately 1 in 9 people, or 6.5 million individuals, will suffer from a dementia-related condition this year. Our memory care options become increasingly vital to our community as this number grows.

However, the majority of Meth-Wick residents dwell in our independent living options so it will continue to be our focus for future development.


As our sixtieth anniversary year comes to a close, so do our reflections from the “Building on Innovation” series. Thanks to our readers for celebrating this milestone with us. Here’s to the next sixty years!