In the News

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CAPACITY: County Needs More Options for Assisted Living, Director Says

Village Concepts of Chehalis – Woodland Village is about to complete its new $7.1 million building, which will house memory care and assisted living. 

Previously, Village Concepts of Chehalis only offered independent living. However, the memory care and assisted living space will be available for residents sometime in March of this year. Village Concepts of Chehalis Executive Director Mark Clendon said he has seen a huge need in the area for both memory care and assisted living.

“With the Baby Boomer generation coming through, it’s a huge need in the area,” Clendon said. “... The capacity here now isn’t what it should be in the county. It really is just needed.”

Village Concepts of Chehalis will host an open house from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24 for its new assisted living and memory care building.

“We are super excited to just offer this to the public,” said Tanya Laeger, Woodland Village community relations director. “We are having personal tours that day. We are going to be having hor ‘doerves, and beverages, and door prizes and just want to love this community well.”

Previously, Village Concepts of Chehalis had an independent living facility with 50 apartments, 41 cottages and six townhomes. Last year, however, Village Concepts of Chehalis began construction on the new two-story building. Clendon expects to hire about 15 more people to work in the new building.

“Village Concepts came in three years ago and really are a community-based company that just look out for seniors,” Clendon said. “They basically put it to me that they wanted to create a place where they would be happy to bring their parents and feel comfortable with — and that’s just kind of the feeling throughout the whole company. Everybody really cares a lot and wants to do what’s best for seniors.”

The first floor of the new building will house memory care. Memory care has 19 bedrooms, most of which are private studios. The second floor will house assisted living, which has 24 rooms. Out of the 24 rooms in assisted living, there are five one-bedroom apartments and the rest are studios.

“It’s just a beautifully-designed building with a staff that is just absolutely phenomenal,” Laeger said.

Laeger said she expects the memory care rooms to reach full capacity, before residents move in around March. She expects the assisted living facility to fill up shortly after it opens.

“It’s just such a limited resource, especially to have something that is brand new,” Laeger said. “Village Concepts is family owned for three generations, so they have done this for over 30 years. They are just known for their quality — their intentionality of just designing spaces for the needs of our senior population.”

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" ["post_title"]=> string(41) "New storytime program bridges generations" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(7) " " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(41) "new-storytime-program-bridges-generations" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-01-17 11:03:58" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-01-17 19:03:58" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#3129 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10209) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-12-28 15:14:56" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-12-28 23:14:56" ["post_content"]=> string(2987) " WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. (NNS) -- Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Whidbey Island Sailors participated in the second annual caroling event at multiple in-home living centers in the local island community Dec. 20. For the second year in a row NIOC Whidbey Island Sailors led by Information Technician 3rd Class Christopher Cubero participated in the annual caroling event, which is well on its way to becoming a tradition amongst NIOC Whidbey Island Sailors and the local community. Over 10 Sailors volunteered their time and voices to spread holiday cheer. “One of the great things about a smaller younger group like this, is the positive reactions we see in our residents”, said Sheena Taylor, resident care director, Village Concepts Harbor Tower Village. “Getting the chance to see a younger generation dedicated to reaching out gives our residents and staff a sense of hope in people and in the future of our younger generations.” For the Sailors participating in this event it is a time to appreciate being home for the holidays and connect with those who may not have many visitors during the holiday season. Along with caroling, Sailors spend time getting to know the local senior citizens and hearing their stories. This year the caroling event was able to reach out to over 30 members in the community. “This is a tradition I had with my family as a child. I consider myself fortunate to lead this group in something I hold close to my heart. I am thankful to have the chance to expand that tradition to the extended family I have found in my shipmates here at NIOC Whidbey Island,” Cubero. This year’s event will go down in the records for NIOC Whidbey Island, whose Sailors banded together in song to bring light to the community during an island wide power blackout that left thousands without power due to a severe wind storm. NIOC Whidbey Island executes analysis, certification, planning, and direct support augmentation to naval air and surface forces engaged in operations worldwide as a subordinate to U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet (FCC/C10F). Since its establishment, FCC/C10F has grown into an operational force composed of more than 14,000 Active and Reserve Sailors and civilians organized into 28 active commands, 40 Cyber Mission Force units, and 26 reserve commands around the globe. FCC serves as the Navy component command to U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command, and the Navy's Service Cryptologic Component commander under the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. C10F, the operational arm of FCC, executes its mission through a task force structure similar to other warfare commanders. In this role, C10F provides support of Navy and joint missions in cyber/networks, cryptologic/signals intelligence and space. For news and information from Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command / U.S. 10th Fleet, visit or follow us on twitter @USFLEETCYBERCOM. " ["post_title"]=> string(82) "NIOC Whidbey Island Sailors Spread Holiday Cheer Amidst Island Wide Power Blackout" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(6) " " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(82) "nioc-whidbey-island-sailors-spread-holiday-cheer-amidst-island-wide-power-blackout" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2019-09-03 16:43:14" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2019-09-03 16:43:14" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#3342 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10204) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-12-28 09:30:01" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-12-28 17:30:01" ["post_content"]=> string(753) " ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- Seniors in Issaquah got a special surprise Friday from preschoolers at Evergreen Academy. The students stopped by to sing carols, read stories and enjoy hot chocolate with residents at the Spiritwood at Pine Lake retirement community. In hosting this, the school wants to teach kids starting at a young age, the importance of helping people in the community. It's about creating connections between generations -- and when kids that adorable come walking through the door, it provides plenty of inspiration. " ["post_title"]=> string(57) "Preschoolers sing Christmas carols to seniors in Issaquah" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(7) " " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(57) "preschoolers-sing-christmas-carols-to-seniors-in-issaquah" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-12-28 09:30:01" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-12-28 17:30:01" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [5]=> object(WP_Post)#3343 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10198) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-12-27 15:46:25" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-12-27 23:46:25" ["post_content"]=> string(1813) " [caption id="attachment_10199" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Country Meadow Village made a donation of $2,500 to Hospice of the Northwest Foundation. Pictured (from left): Wendy Rohrbacher, Erin Long, Dana Brothers, David Bricka, Kaaren Flint and Sandra Jensen.[/caption] Country Meadow Village Executive Director Sandra Jensen and program director David Bricka presented a check for $2,500 to Wendy Rohrbacher, executive director of Hospice of the Northwest Foundation, on behalf of Country Meadow residents and staff at their Christmas party last week, according to a news release. Kaaren Flint, Erin Long and Dana Brothers, all members of the Hospice team, also attended the party. The funds were raised from the summer barbecue, holiday bazaar and buffet, and proceeds from Kathy’s Kloset, a consignment shop set up by staffer Kathy Richter for the residents and staff of the local retirement community, the release stated. “This donation will help so many people live each day to its fullest in comfort and dignity,” Rohrbacher said. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with you all.” Hospice of the Northwest was recently selected “Best Place to Work in Healthcare” for the nation by Modern Healthcare Magazine, according to the release. Over the past 10 years, Country Meadow Village has donated more than $20,000 to various nonprofit organizations as part of the greater philanthropy of its parent company, Village Concepts. Some of those groups include the Meals on Wheels program at the Sedro-Woolley Senior Center, Skagit Valley YMCA Capital Campaign and the Oso Community for relief from the mudslide. " ["post_title"]=> string(69) "Country Meadow Village donates to Hospice of the Northwest Foundation" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(7) " " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(7) "10198-2" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-12-27 15:46:25" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-12-27 23:46:25" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [6]=> object(WP_Post)#3344 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10189) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-12-13 10:51:37" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-12-13 18:51:37" ["post_content"]=> string(4098) " As the community relations director for an assisted living community, Jennifer Angell’s job is to create unique and enjoyable experiences for the residents living there. She often combines these activities with something purposeful, like raising money for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. For the last few years, Jennifer has been the Team Captain for the Spiritwood Unforgettables. They usually attend the Eastside Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Redmond, but Jennifer wanted to do something a little different this year. “Our organization makes a donation and attends the Walk, but I wanted to expand on that and find a way to get the residents more involved,” says Jennifer. “The whole process took about four months,” says Jennifer. “I would do just one photo at a time, and when it was ready, I’d present it to the community at lunch time. People passed the photo around and the featured resident would dress up in costume and parade around the lunch room. It was so much fun for everyone.” Launching each new photo this way encouraged other residents to get involved too.
From the Issaquah Reporter: “When asked by Jennifer to be a part of the calendar, I didn’t want to be bothered,” said Jack Guptil, 83, who was in the “Blues Brothers” photo shoot. “But when I saw how much fun people were having being someone else, I said that’s me. Elwood from the Blues Bros.”
The plan was to sell the calendar as a way to raise money, but no one anticipated what an amazing success it would be: the first three boxes sold out in just four days. “Resident families just loved it and swooped them right up,” says Jennifer. The popularity of the project garnered attention from the Issaquah Reporter. “After the article came out, we started receiving checks in the mail and orders from people in the community,” recalls Jennifer. “It just really took off from there.” They’ve now used the images to create coffee mugs and tote bags, which they sold at a holiday bazaar. In total, they’ve raised over $4,000 for their Walk team — more than they’ve ever raised before. “Our goal was only $1,000, so we’re really happy to be able to donate this much to the Alzheimer’s Association,” says Jennifer. “I’m so thankful to my employer for sponsoring this project. It has been such a source of joy for all involved.” Her employer, Spiritwood at Pine Lake, offers memory care as part of their community, so that is part of her motivation for leading a project like this. It’s also personally meaningful to her. Jennifer’s aunt was recently diagnosed with dementia and it has been rapidly progressing. “For me, raising funds for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is really about the research and the hope of finding a cure,” says Jennifer. “It’s also about bettering the lives of people living with dementia and their caregivers. That’s what I try to do every day through my work, and I know the Alzheimer’s Association does that too.” If you’re interested in ordering one of these items as a gift for the holiday season, you can reach Jennifer directly at: (425) 313-9100 or " ["post_title"]=> string(33) "Unforgettable Moments- Why I Walk" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(7) " " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(32) "unforgettable-moments-why-i-walk" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-12-13 10:51:37" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-12-13 18:51:37" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [7]=> object(WP_Post)#3345 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10107) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-11-15 09:51:36" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-11-15 17:51:36" ["post_content"]=> string(4149) " Spiritwood at Pine Lake residents handmade 200 poppy flowers to honor Veteran’s Day. [caption id="attachment_10109" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Sgt. 1st Class Trevor Riesner, an active service member, visits with Spiritwood residents during Veterans Day to answer questions and meet with other veterans. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Angell[/caption] Spiritwood at Pine Lake honored its resident veterans Monday afternoon as seniors handed out 200 handmade poppies in recognition of Veterans Day at a local QFC. Jennifer Angell, marketing director at Spiritwood, organized the holiday event after her successful themed calendar campaign to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. Several veterans from multiple eras of war participated in the event, and locals enjoyed seeing and speaking with the veterans. “It was amazing — people were loving it,” Angell said. “It was just neat to have the veterans out… It made me proud to be American, to know that those men had given up their lives essentially.” Poppies are a common weed in Europe and often were the only flowers to grow on a barren battlefield. An artificial poppy has become a commemorative symbol throughout the United States and other countries to honor those who’ve died in war.
[caption id="attachment_10108" align="alignleft" width="300"] Spiritwood residents handmade 200 poppy flowers and handed them out at the local QFC, gathering about $200 for the Veterans Association throughout the day. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Angell[/caption]
Washington state has one of the lowest number of veterans per capita, but Spiritwood has the honor of hosting several, including Lt. Col. Bob Nuss, 98, a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Nuss was joined by Korean War veteran, Bill Adams and fellow WWII veteran, Robert Hansbough, who has written several books about his experiences. They chatted and were eventually joined by Sgt. 1st Class Trevor Riesner, who toured Iraq twice since he joined the army in 2006 and currently works as a recruiter. He has earned awards, including the Meritorious Service medal, Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal. “The interesting thing is just the conversation between Trevor and those men,” Angell said. “[Nuss] was the original flight navigator who helped dropped the bomb on Nagasaki.” Nuss and Hansbough are the only two WWII veterans remaining at Spiritwood — five had lived there last year. Riesner brought his family and took time to visit with all Spiritwood residents who were interested. He swapped stories with the resident veterans and the men shared differences and similarities about how they regard the service now compared to when they first joined. Riesner and Nuss talked for about two hours. “They talked about the politics in the military now,” Angell said. “Bob felt that the military is too political now, and he wouldn’t have joined [today], he said, because, ‘I really feel like after Vietnam there were too many political statements being made and you’re no longer a hero…’ It gave me chills to be quite honest.” Throughout the day, Spiritwood residents raised about $200 while handing out poppy flowers to QFC patrons. All proceeds were donated to the Veterans Association of America. “I feel like none of us would be here and living the lives we do with our freedom without those men. I’m thankful every day,” Angell said. “To think about them putting their lives on the line like that and what they see at such a young age, it is unbelievable to me. And how could you not thank them?” " ["post_title"]=> string(51) "Retirement community honors local vets, raise funds" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(7) " " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(50) "retirement-community-honors-local-vets-raise-funds" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-11-15 09:51:36" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-11-15 17:51:36" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(44) "" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [8]=> object(WP_Post)#3346 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(10087) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "2" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-10-29 15:56:23" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-10-29 22:56:23" ["post_content"]=> string(5746) "[caption id="attachment_10088" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Village Concepts Chief Operating Officer Stuart Brown holds a picture of his grandfather and company founder, William Brown, in his office in Auburn.
ANTHONY BOLANTE | PSBJ[/caption] Stuart Brown can remember running through the hallways of Village Concepts’ El Dorado West assisted living facility in Burien as a 10-year-old getting butterscotch candies from residents while his father met with the building director. Now Brown is the assisted living management company's chief operating officer, and wanders those hallways visiting with residents, thinking about his grandfather, Bill Brown, who co-founded the company with El Dorado in 1975 and was able to move there toward the end of his own life. “It was a full circle. He created El Dorado West and lo and behold, 40 years later, he needed it himself,” Brown said. “It was nice to be there for him when he needed it.” Village Concepts is a third-generation, family-run company based in Auburn that operates 17 facilities housing 1,529 seniors. That is more than double the number of residents from 10 years ago and the company is still growing with its 18th location in the early stages of development in Renton. Technically a management company owned by Stuart Brown, CEO Steve Brown (Stuart's father), Rick Brown (Steve's brother) and Chief Financial Officer Pete Jorgensen, Village Concepts reported $2.7 million in revenue last year. Their 17 facilities pulled in $37.5 million in revenue last year, up from $21.8 million in 2008 when there were 12 locations. Most of the properties are owned by a combination of Village Concept owners, other family members and individual investors. When Stuart Brown was in school at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to work for the family business — he was thinking about a career in hotels. He considered transiting to the family business later in his life, but Jorgensen approached him before graduation and convinced him to join the family business. Brown stepped into an administrative assistant role straight out of college eventually moving up to executive director of one of the facilities and then two before becoming chief operating officer in 2007. Stuart Brown and Jorgensen have been running the company since roughly 2007 when Steve Brown started transitioning to more of an adviser, Stuart Brown said. “He still continues to operate as sort of a mentor for us,” Stuart Brown said about his father. “He is still involved, but not operationally.” Village Concepts dates back to 1975, when brothers Bill and Ron Brown built El Dorado West. The two of them built and operated senior living facilities before creating what would become Village Concepts. They were trying something different at a time when senior care was still pretty restricted to nursing homes. Stuart Brown said the founders thought it was important for seniors to have a place to go when they didn’t need much medical help, but perhaps some social atmosphere and a little extra help with housework. “Grandpa wanted to help people have another choice,” Stuart Brown said. “Communities now have amenities and are not just ‘the home.’” Under his leadership, Stuart Brown has made sure that legacy continues, especially in the face of increased competition in the senior living industry, he said. To set the company apart, one area Brown focused on as he stepped into the leadership position was affordable senior housing. Four of the 17 current facilities are income qualified housing, for example. Lauri St. Ours is the director of government and legislative relations for the Washington Health Care Association and has worked with Village Concepts for more than a decade. The consistency in the family-owned leadership for the last 40 years as well as its focus on affordability set the senior living company apart from the competition, she said. “Village Concepts understands residential care must be affordable if it is to be accessed by consumers,” she said. “In Moses Lake and Auburn, they recognized the need for affordable senior housing, and have successfully developed two in-demand properties.” While Stuart Brown grew up around the senior assisted living community, he said it was never expected of him to join the family company. But once he did, he said his dad told him he wouldn’t be able to sail through without giving it his all. “My dad told me early on, ‘You’ve got to be the best or I’m going to have to let you go,’” Brown said. “There wasn’t the pressure to do it, but if I was going to do it, I’d have to be the best.”   Village Concepts
  • Family members: CEO Steve Brown, COO Stuart Brown and Vice President of Development Rick Brown
  • First facility: El Dorado West in 1975
  • Facilities: 17 with one under construction in Renton
  • Facility revenue: $37.5 million in 2017
  • Residents: 1,529
Lessons Learned
  • "Balance personal relationships with business relationships. Work is stressful and there will be disagreements. Ensure you and the family keep the respect and communication level high to avoid uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinners."
  • "Ensure the values of the family are maintained in business decisions and practices."
  • "Make sure non-family employees feel valued and part of 'the family.'"
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