The Meadows Assisted Living at Frasier’s whole-person approach to care and community
By Wendy McMillan
for Aging at Altitude
As we age, our memories may grow less sharp, but that doesn’t mean our lives need be less memorable. In fact, at The Meadows Assisted Living at Frasier, it’s quite the opposite. Under the skilful, nurturing attention of caring, energetic, expert staff, each day at The Meadows is replete with life-enriching activities that holistically support residents – physically, recreationally, cognitively, spiritually, socially, and emotionally. But the real heartbeat, the undercurrent that inspires and sustains the ongoing, uplifting hum of activity, is the genuine warmth of the Frasier community as a whole, including the staff, the residents and their families.
Founded in 1960 to serve and enrich the lives of Boulder’s seniors, Frasier is a life-plan community offering a continuum of care that allows residents to live their lives fully with the care they need, when they need it. Located on a sprawling 20-acre campus in residential Boulder, the beautiful campus consists of three central neighborhoods, each with a unique focus – independent living, assisted living and memory support, and skilled nursing/long-term care. These three levels of care share continuous opportunities to connect throughout their journeys, maintaining friendships and building new ones. While the authentic sense of community is apparent throughout, the special warmth is perhaps most resonant in The Meadows Assisted Living at Frasier, where resident-centered programs and activities provide top-tier support for those with memory loss.
Activities at The Meadows are thoughtfully facilitated to nourish friendships and connection while offering physical care and cognitive support. Assisted Living Director Megan Thomas works tirelessly with her team to create a seamless flow of opportunities for residents that nurture on all levels. A typical day at The Meadows will see exercise classes, arts and crafts, read alouds, discussions, cooking, and more, led by Community Life Coordinators Lisa Duggan and Amy Miller. Residents can participate in a Bible study led by a Frasier chaplain, get together for card games, and gather for happy hour. “There’s always so much that goes on,” Thomas says, adding that the purposeful design of the assisted living and memory support communities at Frasier are laid out in a way that is exceptionally conducive to building connections. “The abundant natural light, and the total design is such that residents are always welcomed into a community space,” she says.
Each of the diverse activities at The Meadows Assisted Living incorporates both purposeful, enjoyable experience and room for spontaneity. Duggan’s cooking class, for example, evokes memory and sharing in many ways. Held in the beautiful kitchen, fondly called “The Little Bistro,” residents recently made pumpkin doughnuts. “Cooking is so sensory-rich and skillbuilding,” Duggan says. “We do a full presentation, introducing the history of what we’re making, measuring, mixing, tasting. It lends naturally to talking, sharing.”
Of equal importance to planned activities at The Meadows are the detours. “We have lots of discussions,” Miller says. “Often we go on tangents, and it’s wonderful.” In a recent discussion group, Miller shares, a lead-in topic led to a different path, in which residents began sharing their experiences in parenting. “They were all parents,” she said. “The memories started flowing in a way that was resonant and unifying.”
Making the decision for a loved one to move into care is not easy, for anyone involved. At The Meadows Assisted Living at Frasier, families not only gain peace of mind thanks to the superior level of care and quality programming, but they are also embraced as part of the Frasier community themselves. “From the moment a resident moves in, we extend care to family members as well, making sure they know we’re partnering with them to help us get to know their loved ones,” Thomas says. “It’s really common to see someone’s daughter or sibling at a concert, or have family members join us in the bistro or for one of our activities.”
Sharing meaningful time together, it’s no wonder the community at The Meadows is so close-knit. Residents become like family to one another, and they are cared for as such. “We feel more than a responsibility to them,” Thomas says. “It’s an honor, and invigorating, to be here. Residents may not remember your name every day, but they remember how you made them feel the day before.” Duggan and Miller agree. “Someone said the most moving words to me the other day,” Duggan says. “She said, ‘I don’t remember your name, but I know I love you.’”