Following a national trend in recent years, foresighted couples and singles have begun jockeying for positions on waitlists at Life Plan Communities like Southminster when they reach their late-60s or 70s, instead of their 80s. In order to embrace this evolution and remain on the leading edge of senior living in the Sunbelt city of Charlotte, Southminster has strategically analyzed and anticipated evolving demographic demand and embarked on a well-thought-out eight-year expansion journey.
In 2020, it completed its first three-phase expansion that included Embrace Health at Southminster, a new person-centered model for higher levels of care. According to Mary Cooper, Chief Operating Officer, who championed this new model of care early on, "The neighborhood design of our small-house model ensures that residents and families always remain central to decision-making regarding their care as their needs change."
Along with this 200,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art health center, Southminster's $140 million expansion included 86 new apartments that increased total Independent Living residences by 27 percent. Southminster had been fully occupied for about four years prior to the groundbreaking, and their waitlist doubled during construction.
Never willing to slow down, Southminster has now embarked on its next strategic plan, "Driving Toward Excellence 2022-2035." It encompasses objectives ranging from diversity, equity and inclusion to technology and data analytics, land acquisition and cultivating innovation. According to Lisa McClellan, Vice President of Human Resources, "Our eye will always be on staffing and recruiting initiatives, but we are increasing our focus and energy toward employee retention and engagement. COVID took its toll on gatherings and engagement opportunities, so we are redesigning our HR priorities to fit the needs of our people."
Immediate construction within the most recent strategic plan includes renovating two dining rooms and the main corridor beginning in January 2023. Southminster will also implement a new master site plan that includes outdoor amenities such as outdoor patios and fire pits, walkways, and exercise spaces.
Part of the plan in this new era of senior living involves philanthropy and making an impact on the broader community. Tracy McGinnis, Southminster's Vice President of Philanthropy and Strategic Initiatives, reports that since its inception, Southminster's fund has distributed over $13 million in financial support to residents living on its South Charlotte campus. Since expanding its philanthropic mission more than six years ago, Southminster has given over $3 million in philanthropic support to various non-profits across Charlotte Mecklenburg.
Southminster recently announced a collaboration with The Ivey, a Charlotte non-profit devoted to serving individuals living with early memory or cognition concerns and their caregivers through programs designed to optimize brain health for aging well. It also strengthened its partnership with The Shepherd's Center of Charlotte, a local non-profit with a mission that includes offering lifelong learning, free transportation, and Medicare counseling to seniors across Mecklenburg County. "We believe in collaborating with like-minded organizations to accelerate impact across all generations through education, the arts, and building healthy communities in Charlotte Mecklenburg," McGinnis said.
According to Ben Gilchrist, Southminster President and CEO, "Our living, breathing strategic plan will enable expanded services to a broader market throughout the region in the years to come. The future is bright indeed." For more information on Southminster, please visit www.southminster.org.
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Original Source: Southminster's $140 Million Expansion Reflects a New Era in Senior Living