The senior living facility of Rosedale Green has been part of the community for more than 50 years. While much has changed during those years—including its name—Rosedale Green recently completed what may be one of its biggest changes: the complete renovation of its facility from four nursing hubs to eight houses of about 20 residents each.

“When we purchased the land in 2008 from the county, we did a market needs assessment of the community to see what other services that we should be providing,” says Londa Knollman, executive director. “That gave us some information, which really caused us to look at building a second location but at the same time, we knew we wanted to provide a different type of care for individuals in skilled nursing.”

Studies by many organizations, including Action Pact, which consulted on Rosedale Green’s renovations, say that a homelike atmosphere provides better outcomes for residents, including fewer falls and lower readmission rates to hospitals.

“We didn’t want it to be like anything; we wanted it to be home. We wanted people to feel like they were just making an address change when they had to move here,” says Knollman.

For almost eight years, Rosedale Green took time to carefully plan what changes—from new or renovated buildings to staff culture—would be needed to create a comforting and healthy environment for its seniors.

The result of this planning? A nearly $12 million renovation of its main facility that took 26 months to complete; a new facility on Turkeyfoot Road called Emerald Trace that specializes in short-term rehabilitation, long-term care and memory care; and a complete culture change that focuses on giving residents freedom and choice.

“We wanted to break that traditional institutional mold and really started training our staff that we wanted them to think of themselves as home health workers,” says Knollman. For example, instead of having a large dining room in which most of the residents were served at the same time, meals are served in each of the eight homes at whatever time the resident would like.

“You’re serving breakfast over a variety of times when people were eating before moving in here. People are getting up at 5 a.m. because they worked an early morning shift, you have other people who don’t want to get up until 10 a.m., and so breakfast goes on for five hours,” says Knollman. “Someone can come in and just be drinking coffee there while the cook is preparing breakfast and they’re reading a newspaper, and then you have somebody else who wants a more formal setting and they’re eating in the formal dining room.” The goal is to let residents keep the routine they had before they moved to Rosedale Green.

In addition to giving residents more choice, Knollman says another goal of the renovation was to provide residents with more usable spaces.

“[Each house has a] new kitchen, new living room, which were areas they didn’t have before. Before it was all staff area, large nurses station, doctors offices, staff offices, things like that, so we took all of the staff space and kind of put them in non-residential areas,” she says. While there are still staff areas, more of the spaces are focused on the residents instead of being working space.

Those large spaces were thus broken into smaller, more intimate spaces—like a den—so that residents could have privacy with family outside their bedrooms.

“If you wanted to entertain your guest or family outside your bedroom, you have an area just like you’d have at your home because most of us, unless you’re close to your sister or whatever, you don’t entertain them in your bedroom all the time. That’s what you do at the hospital,” says Knollman. “We wanted to create space where people could have different levels of intimacy or privacy.”

Many of the rooms have pocket doors, so they can be opened or closed depending on what the resident desires. Knollman says that because of these new options, some residents’ families are choosing to spend more time at Rosedale Green. For example, children can now bake cookies with their grandparents at the facility, and some families have moved their holiday parties there.

According to Knollman, she has heard nothing but good things about these changes from residents and families.

“I had one resident who has lived here 24 years, so she was in the original building that was even prior to the one that we’re in, and she comes down almost daily to thank me for the changes and she will wring her hands and tell me… she didn’t think she could afford to live some place like this,” says Knollman.

In addition to changing the facility, Community Relations Director Julie Price says that Rosedale Green has brought this person-centered approach to even the residents’ free time on both campuses.

“I have a success story with a lady that came into our memory care at Emerald Trace,” says Price. “She always played bridge and because of her cognition impairment no one really thought about her playing bridge. We partnered with [the] Northern Kentucky Bridge Club and asked them to come in as volunteers and this lady is now playing a full hour to two hours of bridge once a month with the bridge club at Emerald Trace.”

Price says it’s that attention to detail that Rosedale Green wants to bring to both of its campuses.

“It’s just trying to find out what our residents enjoy, what they’ve enjoyed in the past, and really bringing that so that [they] don’t lose that when they come here,” says Price.

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