by James Coburn
The Veraden is a new senior living center in Edmond offering independent living, assisted living and memory care, said Anita Kelley, Veraden spokeswoman. Assisted living with memory care has a separate community.
Residents are offered opportunities to engage in healthy lifestyles through nutrition and socializing with their peers. Residents particularly like the cityscape area of The Veraden that is among hills and trees.
“We have an underground tornado shelter with a theatre, cafe and activity room with a fitness center and a certified trainer,” she said. The trainer leads exercises and demonstrates the proper use of equipment.
“We have fitness equipment accompanied by elliptical training, a treadmill and free weights,” Kelley said.
Amenities at The Veraden include a heated swimming pool and hot tub. The second floor has a high-purpose room designed for snacks and a happy hour. Billiards and poker are available.
“In the assisted living, they can use those areas as well. They also have two activity areas,” Kelley said. “But one thing that makes our assisted living unique is we even have two bedroom apartments. A lot of assisted livings don’t have that.”
Kelly said she loves that The Veraden hires according to what is needed for care.
“We don’t say we’ve got five residents so we need one person. If we have five residents with a lot of needs and a lot of care, they we’re going to hire more of a team.”
“So our care associates help with bathing, dressing, and delivering medications. They are all certified nurse aides, certified med aides. Then we have an RN over the program and an LPN. So we’re covered Sunday through Saturday.”
Tonya Hodges serves as director of The Veraden. Hodges has been a licensed practical nurse for 10 years and began her career in senior communities.
“Once seniors are in your heart, you don’t go anywhere,” Hodges said. “It’s your calling. People have asked me over the years, ‘What is your dream job?’ This is my dream job.”
“I wake up every day looking forward to changing their lives.”
Enriching the lives of residents is the staff’s goal at The Veraden. In doing so, the residents change the lives of The Veraden staff for the better, Hodges said.
“I love that we’re taking care of history,” Hodges continued. “We have war veterans and folks who have made a difference in this community.”
A heart for caring is a hallmark of the care staff, Hodges said. That is a quality The Veraden looks for when hiring for senior care, she said.
The Veraden offers 142 apartments, but they already have a lot of residents. When coming to The Veraden, prospective residents have needs to be met.
Some of them have found it more difficult to cook for one person at home or to go pick up groceries. They may have begun skipping meals.
“So with nutrition they want activity. They know they’re sitting too much. They haven’t been getting up and moving enough,” Kelley said.
Some of the people looking for a retirement community realize they have been watching television more than they once did.
Socialization at The Veraden is helpful when having a friend to share a cup of coffee or attend a poetry class.
Kelley said she is impressed by the extra mile the care team has gone to please the residents.
“One lady loves spaghetti so we went and got spaghetti for her,” Kelley said. “They went for an assessment in a different community and found that her apartment, especially around her chair in her apartment was real dirty, so they cleaned the carpet for her around the chair so it would be more comfortable for her and she could move here.
“They just see things that we don’t always see and spot things. I really appreciate that about them.”
On a recent weekend when an ice storm was in the forecast, the care team spent the night at The Veraden to make sure people received their medicine. The director of memory care spent the entire weekend with residents.
“That’s really going above and beyond,” she said.
One of the residents told Kelly she had made a lot of promises before he moved to The Veraden.
“He said, ‘I just want you to know you have gone above and beyond my expectations,’” Kelley said. “I thought that was the best compliment. “Another lady said, ‘This is the best business decision I have ever made.’”
Hodges said if they can change the lives of one senior every day, success has been made.
“Memory care is my passion, and it’s changing the moments, not the days, of our memory care residents,” she said. “I feel that we do that here. Our program is top-notch.
“I just got off the phone with a family. She said, ‘You’ve exceeded everything I ever thought you would be doing for my sister.’ It’s just changing their lives and changing the lives of their families.”