SPRING HILL — With chandeliers, a baby grand piano and day trips, it's like life on a cruise ship, only parked on dry land just off U.S. 19.
The Residence at Timber Pines senior living community, 3140 Forest Road, recently completed a major 80-room expansion, and a grand opening is planned Saturday.
The addition of about 85,000 square feet brings the total number of apartments in the community to 210. It includes independent and assisted living apartments, as well as a new 29-room Memory Care Center, known as the Pearl Garden, on the first floor.
The Pearl Garden was specifically designed to help those with early to mid-stage Alzheimer's disease or other memory-related disorders.
It is designed like a small town, complete with porches and a cloud-painted ceiling. It utilizes visual cues throughout to help orient residents, such as a mural with musicians and real instruments built into the wall. In addition, at the front door of each apartment is a see-through, built-in memory box for photographs and other recognizable items.
Many interactive items are placed throughout the Pearl Garden, such an old sewing machine or typewriter. They are designed to trigger an era that would be familiar to the residents, said executive director Terri Osteen.
The community strives for staffing consistency, enabling residents to recognize and develop relationships with caregivers, and the center will provide unique programming for each resident.
"We try to meet individual needs with programming to ensure that everyone has a variety of options to enhance their memory," Osteen said.
Maria Curley, director of the local Alzheimer's Family Organization has clients at the Residence at Timber Pines and said she has been impressed with the facility.
"It's definitely top notch," she said. "The owners are wonderful. They really work to educate the community."
Managed and owned by the Goodman Group in Minnesota, the Residence at Timber Pines, whose tagline is "A Gracious Senior Living Community," opened in 2000. And, according to local management, it's been popular.
"We normally have a long wait list," said outreach marketing director Korey Hall.
But the expansion has opened up apartment space for new residents.
"We do have availability right now, and prime apartments are going fast," Hall said.
Independent living rates range from $2,535 a month for studio apartments to $4,400 for two bedrooms. Rates include all utilities, as well as amenities such as restaurant-style dining, fitness rooms, a 24-hour care staff, transportation, laundry facilities and wireless Internet access, said Hall.
Rates for the Memory Care Center vary depending on the level of personal care required.
In addition to its full-time community, the Residence at Timber Pines also has a caregiver respite program for families seeking assistance during vacations.
Shary Lyssy Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.