Senior living facilities see rising interest

Clutching a pair of promotional coffee cups,  JoAnn Roemer talks about the reasons she and her husband Ed are considering moving into The Cottages while the couple attend an open house Wednesday at Hiltop’s The Commons.

The holiday season is a time for families to get together, sometimes for the first time in months.

For some adult children, what they see when mom comes to visit for Thanksgiving or when they go to dad’s house for Christmas can be cause for concern.

Maybe it’s as simple as they’re having more trouble getting around or remembering to take medication on time.

Sometimes a more severe change has taken place, such as onset of dementia or physical ailments parents did not disclose over the phone.

It’s common right after a winter holiday for families to check out the range of senior living options in town, according to Gene Geurink, general manager of The Atrium of the Grand Valley.

Although residents are independent or receive home health care at The Atrium instead of more complex care, Geurink said he often hears from grown children this time of year who are considering moving one or both of their parents into the facility because they saw the parent or parents at a holiday gathering and were concerned about them living alone.

“I’ve heard that between now and Thanksgiving 10 or 15 times,” Geurink said.

Instead of the typical one or two tours a day he usually gives, Geurink said he gave six different families tours of The Atrium on Wednesday.

He said December is the busiest move-in month at The Atrium. The second-busiest time of year is during summer holiday and vacation season — another time when families get together after long absences.

“I’ll give more tours this week than I usually give in a month,” Geurink said.

The post-holiday surge in interest in senior living facilities prompted Hilltop to host an open house Wednesday afternoon at The Commons, The Fountains and The Cottages, all Hilltop senior living options for people who want to live independently or require low- to mid-range care.

Hilltop spokesman Mike Green said the open house attracted both families checking out senior living options for elderly parents and seniors looking on their own.

JoAnn Roemer and her husband, Ed, live in Grand Junction and decided to check out The Cottages at the open house. The Cottages are for people who live independently and would allow the Roemers to live in a one-level home and have a garage for their car.

Neither one needs health or home care now, but JoAnn broke a hip during a fall and said she wants to know her options.

“You never know when it’s going to happen again,” she said. “We’re just looking into the future.”

Green said winter also is a popular move-in time for seniors because cold weather illnesses and health issues can slow them down. Illnesses can hurt some facilities’ move-in rates this time of year, too.

Debbie Garner, admissions coordinator at La Villa Grande Care Center, said a local norovirus outbreak this month meant a slow move-in season at the skilled nursing and long-term care center. She said La Villa Grande was busier last winter and she suspects an increase in residents may be on the way in January. “It depends on what’s going on at that time,” she said.


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