Creekside Inn Memory Care Community, in Coeur d'Alene, is a model of sorts for the current growth phase of its Olympia-based parent company, says Erika Schreiber, the facility's executive director.
Creekside Inn, a 65-bed, private-pay assisted-living center, accepts residents with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia-causing disorders exclusively. It was the first such care center developed by Koelsch Senior Communities LLC in eight or nine years, and it's the company's only facility in Idaho, Schreiber says.
Since Creekside Inn opened three years ago, Koelsch has shifted its focus moving forward to all memory-care communities, including its two most recently opened facilities in Bozeman and Billings, Mont., Schreiber says. Four more memory-care facilities are planned or under construction in Texas and Arizona.
The need for such memory-care facilities will increase as the U.S. population ages, she says.
The Alzheimer's Association estimates that 5.4 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer's and 14.9 million unpaid caregiversmostly family memberscare for the majority of them. The association also estimates that Alzheimer's cases in the U.S. will soar to 16 million by 2050.
Schreiber, who lost three of her grandparents to Alzheimer's disease, says she finds caring for memory-impaired seniors rewarding.
"All of my grandparents are gone," she says. "This is my grandparent fix every day when I come to work."
Creekside Inn, located at 240 E. Kathleen, just south of the Kootenai County Fairgrounds, is about half full, Schreiber says. The facility employs about 50 people, the majority of whom are caregivers who provide one-on-one care to residents. Most caregivers are certified nursing assistants, and some of them are taking college courses toward nursing degrees.
Creekside Inn employs 10 registered nurses, and at least one is on the premises at all times, Schreiber says. Nurses handle all medication management, keep track of residents' vital measurements, and contact physicians about residents' health-related changes or problems, she says.
Creekside Inn offers 11 private rooms with 368 to 406 square feet of floor space and 27 semiprivate, 270-square-foot rooms.
"We often can work out a roommate situation," Schreiber says. "It's a great way to keep costs down."
She says residents often are more comfortable with roommates than they are rooming alone.
Residential rates for semiprivate rooms range from $3,775 to $4,975 a month, depending on the level of service needed. Monthly rates for private rooms range from $5,125 to $6,225.
Rates include three meals and three snacks a day, and Creekside Inn accommodates special dietary needs such as for diabetic residents and those that require soft foods.
"We offer nutritional meals with fresh fruits and vegetables," Schreiber says. "Everything is made from scratch."
The 31,000-square-foot, single-story facility has wide, connected hallways that surround an open courtyard. The hallways provide a continuous walking loop that reduces feelings of confinement for residents, she says.
In warmer months, the courtyard is popular for barbecues and its garden fountain. Some residents enjoy taking part in gardening there, Schreiber says.
Throughout the week, Creekside Inn offers daily activity programs that include morning exercise, card games, scenic drives, and ice-cream socials. It also schedules live entertainment at least once a week.
"We're always looking for volunteers," Schreiber says.
During the day, one goal is to keep residents out of their rooms as much as possible and in common areas within sight of staff members, regardless of whether they wish to participate in activities, Schreiber says.
Common areas are furnished with plenty of plush chairs so residents can sit down and rest at any time, and residents are allowed to nap most anywhere, she says.
"There's nothing wrong with falling asleep in a comfortable chair," Schreiber says. "I know I've done that at home."
Creekside Inn incorporates a Northwest lodge theme and includes extensive displays of calming artwork, such as prints of wooded landscapes, serene streams and rivers, and native wildlife.
Because one of the most common problems with dementia is disorientation, exits are locked to keep residents from wandering off the premises. Employees must enter a code in a keypad to exit the facility.
Additionally, windows trigger an alarm if opened more than five inches, and in-room motion detectors activate an alarm if a resident becomes active at an unusual time. Also, rooms have locking closets to prevent residents from packing their clothing or putting on several layers of clothing, which are common behaviors among people with dementia.
Residents at Creekside Inn range in age from their mid-60s to mid-90s, and most are in their 70s.
Most residents have lived in North Idaho or they have family there, Schreiber says. Residents come from many walks of life and include former teachers, nurses, and scientists, she says.
Some have lived at Creekside Inn since the facility opened, and some have come for the dying process, at which point they need round-the-clock care, she says. In the latter stages of progressive dementia, residents can't communicate or perform normal daily tasks.
Creekside Inn hosts an Alzheimer's support group affiliated with the Inland Northwest chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
"We also work with hospice providers in the area," Schreiber adds.
Before the residents come to Creekside Inn, their caregivers usually are their spouses or adult children, who've become overwhelmed by the increasing amount of care that people with progressive dementia require.
"Usually we first meet our residents after they have put themselves in physical danger, or their caregiver can't keep up with demanding tasks," Schreiber says. "For the most part they are at the phase that they have no short-term memory or dementia has progressed to the point that they need full-time help."
In addition to full-time residential care, Creekside Inn also offers adult day care and respite services, which enable family caregivers to take a break for a few hours or a few days.
Day care rates start at $50 for one to five hours and $75 for six to 10 hours. For longer stays, respite care starts at $140 a day.
Koelsch Senior Communities also operates 10 other senior housing complexes in Washington, Montana, and California. Three are independent-living and assisted-living communities, two are assisted-living communities, and five are memory-care facilities.
Aaron and Judy Koelsch own the second-generation family business. Aaron Koelsch and his four siblings, all of whom are involved in senior housing, were raised in the basement of the first nursing home their parents, Emmett and Alice Koelsch, owned in Kelso, Wash.
Subscribe today to our free E-Newsletters!SUBSCRIBE