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Cardinal Ritter Senior Services plans $6.5 million memory care residential expansion

$6.5 million expansion will includeresidential-style neighborhoodsand 26 new residences

A rendering of the new memory care community at Cardinal Ritter Senior Services campus in Shrewsbury.
Photo Credits: Courtesy Cardinal Ritter Senior Services
An expansion project being planned on the campus of Cardinal Ritter Senior Services will be dedicated to a new memory care community for senior adults.

A $6.5 million, 20,000 square-foot development will expand upon Our Mother of Perpetual Help, a residence that provides traditional assisted living services as well as memory care for individuals with dementia. A groundbreaking was held Dec. 14 on Cardinal Ritter Senior Services’ campus in Shrewsbury.

Administrative office space was converted into six new memory care apartments at Mother of Perpetual Help in 2019, said Cardinal Ritter CEO Chris Baechle, adding that they discovered there was a need for more.

A needs assessment was conducted in the summer of 2019, and “we identified a further need for memory care in assisted living,” he said. “We knew there was a need for us to further support our mission with those we help in the community.”

The expansion will include two separate residential-style neighborhoods, which will be attached to the existing Mother of Perpetual Help community. Each of the 26 residences will have a front door to reduce foot traffic and assist in preventing the spread of illness.

Other features will include a natural environment with special lighting in individual rooms and community areas to mitigate the effects of “sundowning,” a state of increased confusion and restlessness for individuals with dementia, which begins or worsens as daylight fades. Softer, calming colors will be chosen for the interior of the residences.

“Through the lighting and the community area, this will allow them to be more engaged,” Baechle said. “This allows for them to be more stimulated during the day and to have a better sleep cycle.”

Cardinal Ritter Senior Services currently has three memory care communities at Mother of Perpetual Help, which provide specialized care for 66 senior adults living with memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Memory care differs from traditional assisted living, as it provides a level of assistance with an increase in the activities of daily living. Activities are designed specifically to help an individual reconnect with favorite hobbies, interests and past memories.

Mother of Perpetual Help is part of a continuum of care for senior adults, which also includes Our Lady of Life Apartments (senior apartment living) and Mary, Queen and Mother Center (skilled nursing and rehabilitation).

Cardinal Ritter Senior Services is a federated agency of Catholic Charities of St. Louis. It receives ongoing support from the Annual Catholic Appeal.

>> Cardinal Ritter Senior Services

Cardinal Ritter Senior Services offers programs, services and senior living options designed to meet the needs of senior adults across a continuum of care.

• Our Lady of Life Apartments is an independent living apartment complex for seniors. Senior adults and couples remain active and involved while enjoying retirement.

• Assisted living facilities offer independence for residents who also need a little help. Each of the facilities, St. Elizabeth Hall and Mother of Perpetual Help, is licensed by the Missouri Division of Health and Human Services.

• Mary, Queen and Mother Center specializes in long-term care, skilled nursing care and rehab, hospice and palliative care and respite care. A holistic approach provides support for the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of each individual. The activity department offers a variety of group and individual activities.

Other Cardinal Ritter programs include affordable senior apartments that provide a sense of community and privacy; social services with access to support programs and referrals; and the Foster Grandparent Program, a volunteer program for seniors to assist programs serving children.

An agency of Catholic Charities, Cardinal Ritter Senior Services is supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal. For more information, see cardinalritterseniorservices.org.

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