Regency rolls out the welcome mat

February 5, 2009

By Jim Feehan

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Newcastle may not have a hotel yet, but it has something similar to a lodge for the about two dozen seniors who live there.

Regency Newcastle, a 99-unit assisted living facility for seniors, opened in September at the northeast corner of Coal Creek Parkway Southeast and Newcastle Golf Club Road. The facility offers private studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments with amenities, including a dining room, pool, hairdresser, licensed massage therapist, exercise room and a van providing transportation.“Many of the people who move here become fast friends,” said Larry Kerson, marketing director.

The lobby includes comfortable leather chairs and sofas, a grand piano, a two-sided fireplace and a café offering coffee and pastries. In the early morning hours, residents can look out their window and see deer.

The facility is at 20 percent occupancy and employs 14. As more residents’ move in, Kerson said he expects to employ 30 to 40 workers, including caregivers, maintenance and kitchen staff members, and fitness instructors.

Helping people make the transition from owning their own home to moving to an assisted living facility is both rewarding and a bit of a challenge, Kerson said.

“Many people come into this with their own fears and misconceptions,” he said. “Once they realize they don’t give up their independence, and they begin to socialize with other residents, they’re won over.”

Assisted living facilities should not be confused with nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities. Nursing homes are generally for residents requiring constant nursing care and having significant deficiencies with activities of daily living. Residents include the elderly and adults 18 and older with physical or psychological disabilities.

Residents at assisted living facilities have their own apartments and share a communal dining room, pool and exercise room.

All Regency apartments include two meals plus continental breakfast; all utilities except telephone; weekly housekeeping; an emergency call system; and 24-hour security and staffing. Studio apartments range from $2,195 – $2,495 monthly, one-bedroom apartments from $2,795 – $3,295 and two-bedroom apartments from $3,845 – $4,950.

Darrel and Carrie Goodnight were the first tenants to move into the facility the week after Labor Day. The couple, from Mesa, Ariz., lived briefly at an assisted living facility in Bellevue before opting for the Regency. 

“There’s so many things to do here,” Carrie Goodnight said. “I really like the swimming pool.”

Darrel Goodnight said the food is great and the staff is accommodating.

“We have a very good chef, who takes into account certain dietary restrictions,” he said.

Kerson said staff members are flexible to meet residents’ needs. An Asian couple moved in and the chef was preparing sushi, egg rolls and teriyaki, he said. 

Regency Pacific Inc., based in Issaquah, owns Regency Newcastle. Regency Pacific owns about 50 retirement facilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and Hawaii. The company owns The Marymoor and Peters Creek Retirement Community in Redmond, and Vineyard Park in Bothell. 

Regency Newcastle is sponsoring a charitable organization providing volunteer opportunities for those who would like to share their skills and interests with local seniors, Kerson said.

Those activities could include leading an exercise class, playing a musical instrument or sharing a hobby.

In addition to sponsoring senior activities, the organization helps seniors living in the area who have no family, Kerson said. 

“We really want to provide a sense of community,” he said.

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