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Retirement Reimagined: An Interview With Grand Living At Indian Creek

Welcome back, readers. Today marks the end of our retirement community spotlight series and we are so grateful to leave you with a piece on Grand Living at Indian Creek. Our team had the pleasure of speaking with Sales and Marketing representative Jake Barnes. 

As a reminder, you can download our complete retirement community guide, which includes interviews and information about Indian Creek and 3 other communities, by signing up below:

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Jake’s professional career has been marked by a passion for helping others and learning their stories. His 15-year tenure in jewelry sales allowed him to connect with customers at pivotal moments in their lives. Helping them find the right thing to make their dreams come true fueled his work, but he still craved a deeper connection with the people with whom he interacted and that is how he found Grand Living. 

Jake’s propensity for care, generosity, and connection, makes him an excellent fit for work in senior living. Several years ago, his grandfather passed away from Alzheimer’s disease, propelling him to use his time and talents in a way that would help others like his grandfather live healthy, fulfilling, and comfortable lives.

In our interview, he stressed how incredible and meaningful working at Grand Living has been for him. He is able to interact with residents every day and feel apart of their lives in a way that wasn’t possible in previous lines of work.  We thoroughly enjoyed our discussion with Jake and can’t wait to share with you what makes life at Grand Living so, dare I say, grand

1. I’d love to hear more about Grand Living. Can you provide a quick overview of the community?

When asked this question, Jake countered with an equally compelling one of his own “when you think of a retirement community, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?”

Historically, retirement communities have been defined as a last-resort or a negative place that viscerally marks one’s age and abilities. But that is not the narrative of Grand Living. 

We seek to flip the industry upside down and provide residents with a luxurious, enjoyable experience, instilling in seniors that they deserve to live their golden years in comfort. 

Grand Living offers three tiers of living opportunities:

  1. Independent living
  2. Assisted living 
  3. Memory care

Grand Living reimagines what retirement living can be and dispels the misconception that senior living is only about medical needs. We value independent living and seek to empower residents to live the life that they design while still offering high-quality medical services, prioritizing both the health and happiness of each and every resident and their families.

2. Can you please lay out the payment obligations?

Entrance fees 

There is a one-time community fee of $3,750.00

Monthly fees 

As you explore different communities, the most important aspect is the value provided. We take particular care to hone in on the value we are able to give every person who comes through our doors. Let’s take a look at the investment for life in our community. 
We offer 5 unique apartment layouts, each with its own monthly rental price. 

  • Studio apartment, approx. 497 sqft. The starting price is $2,795
  • 1 bedroom apartment, approx. 757 sqft. The starting price is $3,270
  • 1 bedroom apartment with a den, approx. 942 sqft. The starting price is $3,785
  • 2 bedroom apartment, approx. 1,170 sqft. The starting price is $4,570
  • 2 bedroom apartment with a den, approx. 1,252 sqft. The starting price is $4,850

What do these fees cover and what don’t they cover?

  • Medical staff
  • Security
  • Meals (2 for independent living, 3 for assisted living)
    • We are proud of our first-class dining experience that we are able to offer our residents
  • Community amenities such as a library, gardens, chapel, meditation space, and restaurants
  • Specially curated activities
  • Gym and personal trainer

While most of our services and activities offered are covered in the above fees there are a few specialty things that are not such as,

  • Salon
  • Pet grooming
  • Occupational therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Speech therapy

If or when are any of these fees refundable?

We do a deposit of $1250 to reserve a room that’s non refundable unless we are unable to meet the needs (two person assist or death) and then the community fee of $3750 total due at lease signing plus first month rent.

Do you take Medicaid if the resident spends through their assets?  

 We are private pay and we do not accept Medicaid.  

What happens if the resident passes away? 

All beneficiary designations and proper paperwork are discussed prior to signing the lease in order to reduce confusion during this time.

  • Photo of a resident suite

3. What is your occupancy rate? 

As a new community here in Cedar Rapids, we are excited about the growth opportunities and serving this wonderful area. Our first birthday here at Indian Creek is February 18, 2020. We are currently at 50% capacity and can’t wait to welcome new residents home. 

4. What is your emergency response system?

We take extra care and precaution to keep our residents safe. A notable facet of our emergency response system is our ability to create emergency exits without the need for stairs or an elevator. We have a wet and dry fire system with a 4-hour firewall to help maintain damage in case of a fire. 

Our deluxe speaker system allows us to press one button to speak with all residents saving precious time in case of an emergency. 

All residents have an emergency button in their room which would alert instant help should they need it. Our receptionist is also available by pressing “0” on the phone to assist residents with other issues and problems that arise. It is our goal to keep our residents safe and know that we are there to help them.

5. How do you measure resident satisfaction and are there surveys I can see?

Here at Grand Living, we have what we call an open-door policy where we encourage residents to provide feedback in an open forum. We have monthly-communication meetings with residents for constructive and positive feedback on processes, food, amenities, activities, or anything else that they might want to bring up.

For example, about 6 months ago, a resident was passionate about us offering pickleball. Now, I hadn’t heard of this game until this meeting and we worked together to set up the game. Usually, it is played with a tennis ball, but we decided on a wiffle ball that goes slower, we also got the rackets, net, and all of the other supplies needed. Residents were so pleased, we now make pickleball a regular activity and it even generates spectators who enjoy spending time with friends and cheering on a team. It is quite delightful. 

6. How do you prioritize the independence of your residents?

Our residents take pride in the dignity and quality of life they experience at Grand Living. We want to inspire seniors to have the retirement that they have always dreamed of. So for us, independent living, is just that: independent. Residents can make their own schedules, engage in the activities they want to, come and go as they please, all while living in a beautiful, welcoming, community-centric place. 

We give our residents the tools they need to build their lives the way they want through access to restaurants, gym, and personal trainer, activities, and events. In fact, we have three full-time employees whose job it is to coordinate activities for our residents. We go beyond an activities calendar and provide our residents with everything they need from scheduling to supplies to instructors and more.

  • Image of the Grand Lounge 

7. Can you explain the difference between Independent Living and Assisted Living?

Residents in independent living are able to live the life that they choose, making their daily schedules with the knowledge that further help is there if they need it but not apart of their day-to-day experience. Assisted living comes with more dedicated, daily nursing care and help with daily tasks as well as medical needs. 

Our services are different as our residents only pay for services that they are using on a month-to-month basis. This ensures that our residents aren’t paying for services that they don’t need or won’t use. Most often we see increased nursing services requested in the winter months, such as shower service and housekeeping, but those services tend to slow down in the summer months. We empower our residents to have assistance when they need it, on their own terms. 

Can people remain in Independent Living as their needs change?

We have adopted an age-in-place philosophy meaning that once a resident moves into their apartment, they will be able to remain there as their needs change. The independence of our residents is a priority but so is their health. We work with each of our residents to help them strike that balance. 

8. Are you for-profit or not for profit?

Grand Living is a private, for-profit company. 

9. Do you accept married couples in one unit?

Many married couples live together in both independent and assisted living. 

What happens if my spouse’s dementia deteriorates? Do we stay in the same building? 

We offer many living options for married couples. It all depends on what they are comfortable with. With our age-at-home philosophy, one spouse could receive additional care when they need it, without changing spaces. 

The only time when a space change may be the best choice is if a spouse (or couple) moves into our memory care unit. We actually have two units: Monarch lane for both men and women and Lavender Lane for women only. Grand Living is one of the only communities to have women’s only memory care wing. Married couples can remain together in memory care or live separately, whatever is best for both parties. 

Do you allow dogs/cats and what are the restrictions? 

We love our furry friends here at Grand Living. Ours is a pet-friendly community and we have so many spaces including an enclosed, dedicated dog park and our expansive lawn for your pet pals to roam and play.

10. What’s your policy for visitors, or family coming to visit? Do they need to sign me/my spouse out? Or do we have more flexibility? 

Visitors are always welcome at Grand Living. Just the other day, I had lunch with a resident and her granddaughter who was in for a visit. Independent residents can come and go as they please. For security purposes, we do ask that residents sign in and out as well as visitors so we know who is on campus and can ensure the safety of all our residents. Our flexible policy promotes a life of enjoyment and gives residents the ability to chart their own course for their lives. 

11. When I can no longer drive myself, is there transportation available? 

For many residents, driving is an important part of their daily lives. When they can no longer get themselves around, many can feel despondent. But we want to give our residents that confidence, flexibility, and freedom back by providing a complimentary private diver. 

Unlike other communities, there is no limit to the number of private rides a resident can get and the drivers are even on call over the weekend. This is a small way for us to give our residents the chance to remain independent longer and prioritize their needs. 

12. What does an average day in the life look like for a resident?

We empower our residents with the tools and resources to completely customize their experience here at Grand Living. This means that there is no average day for one person, rather how they choose to engage in the activities they want. 

Creating a healthy retirement lifestyle is so important for a happy and healthy retirement which is why we focus on many lifestyle factors that do impact our resident’s experience such as luxury living quarters, customized activities, and unique and special dining experience.

Just picture if you had to go to the same restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even if the food was wonderful, it wouldn’t take long before you craved a change of pace and different scenery. This idea inspired the construction of the dining opportunities we create for our residents. Here at Grand Living, we have 4 separate dining experiences: the Bistro, casual dining, fine dining, and private dining. 

Each of these dining choices rotates throughout campus which ensures that the resident won’t have to eat in the same spot each and every day. This rotation keeps things fresh. The dinner menu rotates on a 30-day schedule with each meal including a Chef’s special. Our head chef is also a trained Chocolatier, so our desserts are really out of this world.

  • Photo of the Grand Library
  • Image of one of the dining areas 

13. Do you have pre-planned activities for residents? Or am I free to make my own schedule? 

We take special care to give our residents activities that they want to do. Our activities coordinator creates 6-7 different activities for residents every single day. Among these, 2-3 are dedicated entirely to exercise like Thai Chi, Pilates, Yoga, Jazzercise, and more.  Our personal trainer is on staff here and is available for 1 on 1 training whenever requested at no additional cost. 

We are also dedicated to our residents’ mental wellbeing providing activities that stimulate the brain like music therapy, classes, and other specialty programs. For example, we have a program directed by a doctor of music to discuss music theory, history, performance, lyrics, and more.

Our larger live music and special events happen about once per month and can be anything from a live music performance on the lawn to a roaring ’20s themed party with secret doors and speakeasy vibes.  

It is important to know that our memory care residents have their own separately curated calendar for activities best suited to them and their needs. Memory care residents have different needs and it is important for us to cater to those needs. 

To wrap up, let’s take a look at a few key takeaways:

Takeaway #1: Residents at Grand Living can expect a luxurious, comfortable, tailored experience from living quarters to activities to health to dining and more. 

Takeaway #2: Their age-at-home philosophy allows most residents to remain in their home as their needs change. 

Takeaway #3: Grand Living seeks to redefine retirement living by empowering residents to express dignity and individuality, providing the tools necessary for their success. 

If you are interested in learning more about Grand Living at Indian Creek call 319-930-3250 or visit them online. For more insight into news and events follow them on their Facebook page.  

Now that our retirement community spotlight series has come to an end, be sure to think through the following questions:

  • How has your view on retirement communities altered after reading these four interviews?
  • What aspects surprised you most and what parts, if any, did you expect?
  • In what ways could a retirement community impact the livelihood of either you or your loved ones?

Here at Arnold & Mote, we are passionate about providing our community with the best resources available and hope that this series inspired you to look at retirement communities in a new way. If you would like to talk more about how a retirement community would fit into your financial plan, give us a call

You can find the other interviews we did at other local retirement communities at the links below:

  1. Meth-Wick
  2. The Keystones at Cedar Rapids
  3. Cottage Grove Place

Also see our post: Considering A Retirement Community? 3 Things To Be Aware Of

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