Major expansion plan approved for The OrchardBy NIKKI ROWELL,
The Orchard, a retirement community located in Ridgeland, is moving forward with plans to build a new 48 bed memory care facility after the city board of aldermen voted to approve the site plan for the expansion.
The $37.5 million project will allow The Orchard to continue to meet the growing need for memory care services and accommodate couples and men for the first time.
“We are still in the permitting stage with plans to break ground in September,” said Executive Director Sharon Sullivan. “We are approved by the City of Ridgeland but still have to be issued a building permit, which is in the process.”
The Orchard is also seeking approval from the Mississippi State Board of Health, as it is a licensed facility.
“That process is also in the works,” Sullivan added. “This kind of development just takes a lot of time on the front end.”
In addition to the new addition, there will also be updates to existing community spaces and cosmetic upgrades. The project will include more indoor and outdoor community spaces designed with memory care residents in mind.
Construction is expected to wrap up in the summer of 2020. Sullivan said they will begin to accept residents beginning next summer.
Currently the Orchard has 26 memory care beds, while the expansion could house up to 48 residents.
Sullivan said these spaces are important, as they improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s. For memory care residents, there is a large focus on therapeutic activities.
“It’s very hands on,” Sullivan said of their daily schedule.
Sullivan said the Orchard has a waiting list of people.
“More and more people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every day,” Sullivan said. “We foresee it really growing. The unit we have now houses only ladies and has mostly semiprivate rooms. There is no place for couples or men.”
Engaging with social and physical activities is important for those with Alzheimer’s, as Sullivan said it is all designed to give residents a better quality of life.
“It’s bad for them to hibernate, because this could make the disease progress faster,” she said.
“There is not a cure, and these things might not even slow it down, but what we are sure about is that we can give them a much better quality of life,” Sullivan said.
The building that currently houses the memory care could be repurposed as an activity area for residents, according to Sullivan.
The Orchard, an affiliate of Wakefield Capital, provides independent living, assisted living, physical rehabilitation therapy, memory care and skilled nursing services.
“For over 30 years, The Orchard has demonstrated its commitment to the well-being and comfort of its residents,” said Ed Nordberg, Wakefield Capital Executive Chairman. “Thanks to SunTrust’s partnership and their expertise in the senior living industry, The Orchard is able to further serve its residents with high quality care and provide additional memory care services in the process.”