Opening Lansing’s first Alzheimer’s Special Care Center is no easy task. Just ask Marie Lynn Wieland, Robinwood Landing’s administrator.
Robinwood Landing is a senior living community for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, a part of JEA Senior Living management and development. Although Wieland joined the JEA team less than a year ago, she explained, “This company just truly feels like home to me. I believe in their mission; I have been refreshed by everything that we’ve experienced.”
Having worked in senior care for over seven years, Wieland knows about caring for the elderly. Robinwood Landing allowed her to take on a managerial role and specialize in Alzheimer’s care.
“Alzheimer’s is reaching epidemic levels in our nation, and if we don’t start doing something we’re going to have a big problem on our hands,” she said.
Robinwood Landing will be home to 66 residents and staffed by 60 team members, meaning the faculty-to-resident ratio is almost one-to-one. Personalized care is important to the team.
With warm tones and tall ceilings, Robinwood Landing really feels like home. Outside each resident’s door will be a frame containing a summary of their life and an older picture of them from before they developed dementia.
“Everything in the community is designed with our residents’ needs in mind,” she said. “We’re talking everything from the lighting, the carpet, how wide the hallways are. We want to create a home-like environment.”
When it comes to building the Robinwood Landing team, Wieland selected team members carefully. “It’s all about the heart,” she said. “We are looking for people who are called to this career. We want people that want to be here and are here for the right reasons to do the right things.”
The team’s goal is to help residents age with dignity and grace, no matter what stage they are at in their disease progression. As a family-owned business with family ties to the disease (JEA President Cody Erwin’s grandmother had Alzheimer’s), Robinwood Landing wants each resident to receive personalized care.
“We want to know everything about that person prior to their disease so that we can then care for them as a whole individual, not just an individual with dementia,” Wieland said.
Wieland hopes people will reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association to learn more about the impacts of this terrible disease. “Volunteers are
huge for us. Volunteers of all ages, all skill levels, talents. We want to be involved in the community,” Wieland said.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this disease kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Wieland recommends starting the research process early. To those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s at home, Wieland said, “I have a great level of respect for that. Who wouldn’t want to keep their loved one home as long as possible?”
In the next five years, Wieland estimated Robinwood Landing will be the area’s top provider for Alzheimer’s care. The official ribbon cutting was on Oct. 10. If you missed your chance to visit, don’t worry. Anyone is welcome to experience the Robinwood Landing community, and they are always looking for volunteers.