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Living Longer, Living Better

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on July 07, 2010 with No Comments

by Neal F. Litherland
As the baby boomer generation ages, the senior citizen portion of the population is rising to new levels. The baby boom, which ended in the late 1960’s, produced over 78 million Americans… many of whom are now retired or entering retirement. Many of these senior citizens are still active, healthy individuals, but often they have a house that’s too much work, or their old friends moved out of the neighborhood and now they’re one of the only retired persons around. Other seniors may have health problems that require medical attention to be ready, or they may be looking for a way to make staying close to their families more convenient. Rittenhouse Senior Living communities are striving to make that possible.

“When people think of senior living facilities, they tend to have certain misconceptions,” Betsy Cuellar, the director of marketing for Rittenhouse’s soon-to-be-opened Portage branch, said. “Customers tend to imagine a place that’s very institutionalized, cold, and depressing with bad smells and dim lights. Rittenhouse is nothing at all like that.”

Years ago, nursing homes were places that seniors were sent to warehouse them. Whether it was because they were ill, families didn’t have the capabilities to take care of them, or because they didn’t have anyone else, seniors in past decades found themselves in very depressing, very cold retirement homes. Cuellar made it very clear that Rittenhouse is not a nursing home, and that it defies those expectations. Rittenhouse is a community for seniors that can cover a variety of needs. There are independent living areas (very similar to high end apartments), assisted living areas (for those seniors who have special, medical needs), and even memory care (for those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and similar conditions). The difference, Cuellar says, is in how people are treated and what they receive.

“Those who are in the independent living facility are absolutely free to come and go as they want to,” Cueller said. “For all intents and purposes, it’s their home. Our residents can have visitors and guests, leave or stay when they want to, and decorate their place however they want to.”

Cuellar went on to say that the rooms the residents in the senior living facility have bear a good resemblance to a high-end hotel. The rooms are basically an apartment, and they each have a patio, a kitchen, a living room and a bedroom. The villas come with utilities paid, television, and a number of other amenities. Residents can bring their own furniture and decorations if they want to. They can cook whatever they want and live their lives according to their own wants. Cuellar says that the independent living facilities also take a lot of responsibility off of the senior residents.

“Many of our residents had homes that they couldn’t or didn’t want to take care of anymore,” Cuellar said. “At Rittenhouse we have maintenance crews on site, and residents don’t have to worry about snow removal or cutting the grass. We even have a cleaning service that will come through and straighten up residents’ rooms.”

Rittenhouse strives to keep this same upbeat atmosphere and focus on independence when it comes to the assisted living facilities as well. Similar to the independent living areas in setup, residents in assisted living have special, medical needs that make it necessary for help to be easily accessible.

“Many of our residents in assisted living just need someone to look out for them,” Cuellar said. “Some may forget to take their medication, others may need someone to come and check their vitals. Some residents just need to be in a place where medical assistance will be nearby in case it’s needed.”

Rittenhouse is a state licensed facility, so some assisted living residents can be court ordered into care. Independent living residents are always voluntary, Cuellar says that there are even more seniors who want to be a part of communities like Rittenhouse, and that’s why there is a facility about to be opened in Portage. There are already Rittenhouse facilities in both Valparaiso and Michigan City, but the community opening up in Portage is large enough that it’s often mistaken for a small subdivision.

“It’s partially for convenience,” Cuellar said. “It’s a lot easier to drive across town to visit grandma and grandpa than it is to drive two or three towns over. There’s a big demand for these sort of communities, and the owners of Rittenhouse have 20 years of experience fulfilling that sort of need.”
The Rittenhouse community in Portage is scheduled to open in the Fall of this year, and the monthly rental fees begin at $1865. For more information on Rittenhouse visit www.rittenhousesl.com. Betsy Cuellar may be reached at (219) 764-2900.

DIRECTIONS
Rittenhouse Senior Living (Portage) is located south of U.S. Highway 6 at Willowcreek Road Follow Willowcreek Road to Sterling Creek Road (directly across from Porter Hospital) turn left go approximately 2 blocks Rittenhouse Senior Living of Portage is on Sterling Creek Road.

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About Neal F. Litherland

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal: neal@thechroniclenwi.com.

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