This week marks the grand opening of one of Sussex County’s newest assisted living programs. Brandywine Assisted Living, now operating in five states, was set to officially open its doors Thursday, Aug. 21, west of Fenwick Island. Located at the intersection of Routes 54 and 20, the assisted living community is already off to a promising start.
“It’s been wonderful,” said Executive Director Eileen Bennett. “We’ve had an amazing response. Many people are becoming very interested in what we have to offer.”
Brandywine Assisted Living in Fenwick Island is the 19th location for the company, which includes Seaside Pointe in Rehoboth Beach, as well as locations in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
“Our company is going through a lot of rapid in growth and development,” said Bennett. Plans are already in the works for their next location at Kennett Square, Pa., and before long, Brandywine anticipates a location in western Maryland, according to Bennett.
With 102 apartments accommodating 125 residents, the living conditions are designed to be spacious and appealing, with plenty for the guests to do.
“The activities and the quality really pushes envelope of assisted living as far as services are offered,” Bennett said. “When you pay your room and board, it’s a full package deal. It includes just about everything. We don’t nickel-and-dime you. You can swim in the pool, watch a movie in the theater or relax in the game room. Everything is included.”
Brandywine Assisted Living aims to complement its guests, wherever the location may be. From larger cities to rural backdrops, the company aims to offer solitude, a friendly face or a helping hand, so that those who find themselves at Brandywine are more at home than ever.
Valet and shuttle service help ensure quality care from the moment guests enter the building. Brandywine is equipped with on-site, rather than on-call, nurses, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“You have people here for the social aspect, as well as for the peace of mind that if something does happen, there’s someone here at all times,” said Bennett. “We staff licensed nurses in the building at all times, something not always guaranteed at other assisted living communities.”
She has also taken the time to work with other organizations through the area for their assitance.
“We’ve reached out to our surrounding resources,” she said, “doctors, labs, X-rays, pharmacies — we’re trying to build our support system. The population has tripled in this region over the past decade, and you need to offer services that appeal to the people coming to the area. These are the kind of resources you need.”
Still in its early stages of operation, Brandywine Assisted Living in Fenwick Island currently employs approximately 40 workers, including nurses, receptionists and housekeeping staff.
“The focus for all of our employees is education,” said Bennett. They participate in mentoring programs and Brandywine even harbors a “Brandywine University” program at their Senior Living Center in their Mt. Laurel, N.J., headquarters. “Everyone who works here learns the general information about assisted living, but they also learn about the company philosophy and focus.”
Bennett herself, a licensed nursing-home administrator, has worked 13 years in the field, and has been a part of assisted living programs for 11 of them.
While a far cry from the inner-city lifestyle of Trenton, N.J., where she began her nursing career, the relaxed, easy-going atmosphere of lower Delaware has been a welcoming change since she relocated with her husband.
“In the city, there was a lower income in the economy, and just a lot of sad situations,” she said. “Here, there’s a greater respect for other people. It’s an ideal place to raise a family or for someone to retire to.”
The surrounding community is also an ideal fit for Brandywine’s newest expansion, Bennett said.
“This area has a lot of people coming to it from the big cities,” she added. “They’re moving here to summer homes, retirement communities, and it’s definitely a developing area.”
The executive director is already making an effort to transform the newly developed building into a center for the entire community.
“We want to bring a lot of our own services to the area,” she said. “We’re going to open the building to any local organization that needs meeting space. We have an amazing conference room, movie theater with great audio and visuals, and a multi-purpose room for other events. We want to look outside the box and do what we can, not only for our residents, but everyone else, too.”
For more information or to schedule a tour, contact Paula Schatz or Kathleen Skiles at Brandywine Assisted Living in Fenwick Island by calling (302) 436-0808, or visit www.brandycare.com online.