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Monark Grove offers ‘cruise ship’ quality for active seniors

MADISON — It was summer 2021 and, after a tumultuous 18 months of COVID, people were itching to get back to some semblance of normalcy.

The “over 60′ population was still the most at-risk to the lingering virus, so Michigan-based Kirco Senior Living opted out of holding a grand opening for its then-named Madison Crossings community.

Like many things to come out of the pandemic that have led to surprisingly better outcomes, tenants have been moving into the much-needed senior living community on County Line Road adjacent to James Clemons High School.

The added time also gave Kirco time to make improvements and bring in a new management company to provide the kind of service they envisioned for the new facility – something few new businesses have the opportunity to do in real time.

Matt Coughenour, VP, Senior Living, KIRCO (Kirko contributed)

Last week, the newly named Monark Grove held a ribbon-cutting for the 132-unit “cruise ship on land” facility. The high-end community is for people 62 and over with active lifestyles – who may still work – and are looking for a slower, simpler lifestyle.

Matt Coughenour, vice president of senior living, said the community is similar to its Monark Grove Greystone retirement community in Birmingham.

“We decided that in order to give the residents the service and experience we envisioned when we developed the property, we would bring in Beztak to manage the property for us,” Coughenour said. “We have had a long and successful relationship with them managing other projects in Michigan so we felt they would be a perfect fit for these projects down in Alabama.

Monark Grove Dining Room (256 Today)

“I think the improvements have been noticeable, particularly in the dining department with a more diverse menu and higher quality presentation and overall dining experience and service for the residents there, as well as more activity programming and life enrichment.”

Monark Grove addresses the needs and expectations of an expanding demographic in the nation, but in the North Alabama market specifically.

With population growth exploding, families who are relocating to the Tennessee Valley are finding the area so conducive to affordability and quality of life, they are bringing along their families, especially parents and grandparents reaching or at retirement age.

A tour of the two-wing facility shows consideration for visiting grandchildren with a swing set and playground alongside the heated five-foot deep swimming pool, game rooms and playrooms with toys and books and jigsaw puzzles.

The Monark Grove interior design is open and inviting with plenty of room for chats in front of the lobby fireplace. There are several dining options including a juice bar, a formal dining room with an executive chef, outdoor bistro, and a pub.

The amenities also feature an art studio; a nondenominational church; sunrooms at the end of every hallway; reading rooms where the books are swapped out periodically; a hair salon and barber; a dog park; and a fitness center that offers wellness, physical, occupational and speech therapy and yoga; and even a movie theatre.

While most residents still drive, there is onsite chauffeured transportation and a 24-hour onsite staff.

“One of the biggest benefits we see in senior living is really the social engagement and interaction,” said Coughenour. “We have a lot of residents that come to us and say they were in poor health when they moved in but have significantly improved due to more social engagement on a day-to-day basis, mental engagement, social stimulation and the physical activities we offer as part of our life enrichment programming.”

Monark Grove features 105 independent living studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments styled with quality appliances, stone countertops and an eating bar, and bright living areas targeting more independent seniors seeking an active living environment.

There are also 27 memory care apartments designed for residents diagnosed with memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease. This section offers higher levels of security and onsite licensed healthcare professionals that offer numerous medical services from medication management to mobility assistance.

Retirees nor memory care residents require a doctor’s referral but they are required to fill out an assessment, which is part of the state regulations.

Adam Snyder, Beztak’s senior vice president of operations, said most people who are part of the memory care population have been diagnosed with some form of memory loss or dementia but that still does not require a medical referral.

“We do have to do a mini mental state assessment for the memory care portion and they do need to qualify based on that assessment to be there,” he said.

Monark Grove is leasing. Visit the Monark Grove Madison website to apply or call 256-887-9378 for a tour.

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