The bright and spacious halls of Beach House Assisted Living & Memory Care at Wiregrass Ranch are coming to life, with an influx of new residents calling it home since the community opened in April 2018.
Located just two miles east of the Shops at Wiregrass on S.R. 56, the 93,000-sq.-ft. facility offers 100 residential units, ranging from studio-type apartments of 450 sq. ft. to two-bedroom/two-bath units of up to 796 sq. ft. Homes at Beach House can accommodate single residents or couples, living in either the assisted living or memory care areas.
In the eight months since it opened, 59 residents have moved in so far.
Callie Sears, the director of community relations for the Beach House at Wiregrass, says the number of residents who have already chosen to call Beach House home is well above what they had anticipated at this time, and that those residents are already shaping the programs and features that make it such a special place to live.
“We tailor and cater activities and social aspects of the community to the residents who live here,” says Sears. “The innovative, out-of-the-box thinking, and catering to residents’ wants and needs is how we’re able to really make it their community.”
She says this includes bringing the surrounding Wesley Chapel community into Beach House, with volunteers from Wiregrass Ranch High, for example, and other events designed to draw people in.
This month’s “Battle of the Bowls” is a chili cook-off today from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. There will be live raffles, chili, hot dogs, beer and desserts. Sears says everyone is welcome to enter their own chili in the cook-off.
“Our philosophy is to bring the outside community into these walls,” Sears explains. “We want to embrace Wesley Chapel and New Tampa and bring them in to understand what we’re about. Our residents are vibrant and have things to look forward to every day.”
Another way the Beach House brings in local residents and business leaders every month is by hosting Women of Wesley Chapel (WOW) meetings. The group of as many as 100 North Tampa Bay Chamber members and their guests meet at the Beach House on the first Friday of each month at 7:30 a.m.
WOW chair Mollyana Ward says, “They say great minds think a like and both (NTBC CEO) Hope Allen, myself and Linda Mena were all on the same page when it came to hosting WOW at the Beach House. When Linda gave Hope and I a tour, we were in awe. Not only is the facility beautiful and classy, but so accommodating. The staff prepares a light breakfast for the ladies of WOW on the first Friday of every month. We love having a place to call home!”
Meanwhile, Sears says the Beach House community also includes the family members — and even furry friends — of its residents. Pets up to 30 pounds are welcome, and visiting family members often bring pets to the facility’s dog park.
“We have a good rate of family involvement,” Sears says. “We want them to be here and give them 24/7 access to come and go.”
She says mealtimes are often when families gather.
“We see a family member sitting with three or four residents, or a couple of families sitting together,” Sears says. “Some families are drawn to those residents who don’t see their families as often. They almost have adopted grandparents.”
Residents eat restaurant-style for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with chef-created recipes to accommodate any dietary needs. In fact, a monthly Chef’s Showcase gives residents the opportunity to sample new recipes or submit their own favorite recipes for the chef to try out. Then, the residents get to vote on which items they want added to the menu at the Beach House.
With its location close to shopping and dining, families often embark on multi-generational outings. Residents also choose where to have a weekly “lunch bunch” in one of the area’s many local restaurants.
There’s also plenty to do without leaving the Beach House. There are indoor and outdoor gathering spaces for wellness activities, games such as shuffleboard or pool, movies, arts & crafts, and a salon.
Happy hours, which used to be once a week, are now three times a week, and include weekly live entertainment.
“Our happy hours are so popular,” Sears laughs, “we need to order more furniture.”
She also says that the memory care residents have group kitchens where staff members lead activities such as baking cookies, which many residents have enjoyed doing all their lives.
“It’s a shared activity, where one person measures and one person mixes,” explains Sears. “We can always smell it when they’re baking cookies.”
Like Home, Only Better
Sears says people are attracted to the name Beach House, which is intended to evoke fond memories of years gone by, such as summers on the beach.
“People come in because they like the name, and then they see that Beach House has a calming sense to it,” says Sears. “Some places almost feel sterile, but they did a great job here of creating a sense of warmth and an inviting atmosphere. People feel drawn to it.”
As the first full-service assisted living and memory care facility located in Wesley Chapel, the Beach House offers many different accommodations and services to its residents.
For assisted living residents, the Beach House staff provides help with a variety of daily activities, such as shopping and medication management. The separate memory care area is available for those who need it, such as for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
The Wesley Chapel location joins two existing Beach House facilities in Jacksonville and Naples, FL. They are all owned by Prevarian Senior Living, LP, which is based in Dallas, TX, and also has similar communities in Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona.
Day-to-day operations at the Beach House are managed by employees of Life Care Services, a Los Angeles, CA-based company serving the needs of more than 33,000 senior citizens at facilities throughout the U.S.
To deliver services to residents of a wide range of abilities, the Beach House is licensed as an Extended Congregate Care (ECC) facility. That means a spectrum of care is offered, from limited assistance to total help with many basic needs.
“We have nurses around the clock,” says Sears. “That sets us apart from most places.”
Overseeing all aspects of the Beach House at Wiregrass Ranch’s daily operations is executive director Linda Mena, who has more than 25 years of experience working in senior housing. She explains that the range of care helps Beach House residents of all abilities, and as their abilities change over time.
“They truly can age in place in our community and that’s important to residents,” Mena says. “With the attrition of life, their needs become much greater and they don’t want to have to move or make a transition at that frail part of their lives.”
Residents at the Beach House pay privately, as insurance plans and Medicaid are not accepted. However, if families have long-term care insurance, a staff member will assist with providing billing information to the insurance company for reimbursement.
To learn more about upcoming events at the Beach House at Wiregrass Ranch, including the “Strut Your Mutt” doggie fashion show, go to Facebook.com/BeachHouseatWiregrassRanch. To enter your chili or RSVP for the Battle of the Bowls, or, for more information about the Beach House (30070 S.R. 56), visit BeachHouseWiregrass.com, or call (813) 508-6677.