July 2017

The Palmettos Assisted Living & Memory Care: Home, and So Much More

Author: Kitty Bartell

With the March 17, 2017 opening of The Palmettos Assisted Living & Memory Care, the dream of National HealthCare Corporation founders Dr. Carl E. Adams and Jennie Mae Adams was achieved in the Lowcountry. The final component to NHC’s Bluffton community campus completed the continuum of care envisioned when the company was founded in 1971—a community that includes home healthcare, outpatient therapy, in-patient therapy, long-term care, memory care, and now a lovely, assisted living address.

The Palmettos has 55 well-planned rooms and apartments where residents live independently, where the chores of daily life are taken care of, and where assistance is available when a little help is needed. The 22 rooms making up the Harbor Memory Care portion of The Palmettos are specifically for residents in need of memory-challenged living options. With staff available to assist with day-to-day needs, residents are expected to be able to bear weight, do some things for themselves, and to be able to transfer themselves in some way. Meeting those criteria, residents are finding the ease of living here unparalleled. “We take away all of that mundane stuff that bogs you down, like laundry and the cleaning, and the cooking,” said Anna Makar, admissions coordinator, and marketing director for The Palmettos. “All you have to do is thrive, and enjoy life, and have a good time.”

With three meals a day, laundry once a week, maintenance, and housekeeping services, and Wi-Fi, cable and telephone connections, the opportunity to enjoy both private and community living spaces, all the recreational options, and the comfort of an extended family of caregivers, moving to The Palmettos, residents are quickly feeling, very much at home. “We are able to offer families peace of mind,” Makar said. “The one thing we have that others do not have is the continuum of care. Families know we are going to find the appropriate level of care, and it’s all on the same campus.”

Safety and top-notch care are the first priorities at The Palmettos, and some of that peace of mind comes with a nursing staff who administer and monitor all medications. “Something that sets us apart is we have nursing staff here from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week, and we have med techs around the clock,” Makar said. Further, the on-campus proximity to the NHC facilities gives residents quick and easy access to therapy and medical staff, allowing them to be close to home, or sometimes even at home, for their care.

An NHC admissions coordinator for eight years, Makar appreciates getting to know The Palmettos’ new residents and their families, and helping to make the transition as smooth as possible. “At NHC, they usually came in under a crisis situation,” she said. “Coming to The Palmettos is more of a decision. It takes time for it all to come together. They are changing their lives and living here, so it’s a big deal. They’re making a huge step. What I try to focus on with all my inquiries and families, is, it’s not what you’re giving up, it’s what you’re gaining when you move here.”

And there’s so much to be gained. “The important thing about the buildings at both NHC and The Palmettos is that they do not resemble a facility,” Makar said. At The Palmettos, welcome home is the frequent greeting in the lobby—a lobby that resembles an elegant hotel lobby. “We treat everyone like family, and providing a high level of service is important to making everyone feel at home.”

Another important feature of their superlative approach to care includes the uniquely personal and home-like atmosphere in The Palmettos’ dining room, envisioned by Chef Gary Hall, who strives to make everyone feel very much at home. Overseeing the menu and his kitchen team, Hall set the operation up so that he could interact with the residents. “Instead of me being in the kitchen for every service, I hired a 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
cook, and I do the serving,” Hall said. “I serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in addition to helping in the kitchen, making sure the meals are prepared correctly, and that the plates are pretty. That give me a lot of interaction with the residents, and I can see every plate that comes out. I can taste everything and make sure everything is good. I get the best of both worlds.”

The Palmettos dining offers restaurant-style menus with about eight daily entrée choices, plus a soup of the day. “It works out great. I know the residents. I know what they’re looking for, and I can hear any requests and make changes accordingly.” The lettuce wedge selection, finding its way to the menu just a couple of days after Hall heard from some residents that it was a favorite, is exactly how he hoped his approach would work. “That’s the beauty of being out there; the residents are comfortable sharing their comments with me.” There is also a café where residents can always get pastries and snacks when they want something different from the full dining experience.

Of course, with all the chores taken care of, there is time to enjoy the ever-growing number of recreation options at The Palmettos. In the beautifully-appointed outdoor courtyards, residents enjoy time with nature, practicing their golf game on the putting green, doing a little gardening, or enjoying some live entertainment and a cookout. Activities are scheduled in the activities room, sunrooms, and lounges situated around every corner, including church services, bridge, yoga, meditation, music therapy, Rummikub, and this past April, a Masters viewing party was hosted with appetizers, beer, and wine…just to name a few. “We also have a lot of pet therapy going on,” Makar said. “A lot of our residents have pets who come to visit them.” Venturing off-campus in The Palmettos shuttle bus, residents also go to concerts, movies, and restaurants, or out to do some shopping.

Like moving into a new neighborhood, everyone is getting sociable and building a special little community at The Palmettos. “I’m noticing a lot of camaraderie,” Makar said. “I’m noticing friends, and laughter, and a lot of engagement.”

Welcome home.

The Palmettos is located at 3035 Okatie Highway, Bluffton. For more information, please visit thepalmettosbluffton.com or call (843) 707-9400.

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