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About Vi Living
Is it retirement or is it a resort? That's the question Vi Living officials believe should not have an easy answer when it comes to their continuing care retirement communities. While there are a lot of owners and investors in the senior living industry, Vi designs and builds their communities as well. A privately held, Chicago-based corporation founded in 1987 by Penny Pritzker, Vi boasts 10 locations with 4,060 units that serve more than 3,200 independent living residents and 797 care center residents (as of August 2012). Pritzker's family founded Hyatt Hotels, and Vi's was originally known as Classic Residence by Hyatt.
At Your Service
With that history, it's not surprising hospitality is valued highly at Vi. Residents have more time to take advantage of the physical, social, and intellectual programs offered in these communities because day-to-day concerns, such as housekeeping, maintenance, and meal preparation are taken care of by staff. Concierge service, valet parking, scheduled transportation, and fitness and spa facilities are other amenities. At restaurant-style venues on premises, chefs serve healthful meals, often substituting spices with salt or sugar, that cater to the older palate -- although individual apartments, villas, and homes have well-appointed kitchens for those who prefer to cook.
Vi Be Well
Vi's "American Century" lifestyle program, which aims to stimulate the social, emotional, and intellectual wellness of residents by "encouraging them to celebrate the experiences and innovations of the Greatest Generation," earned a 2009 Innovator Award by the International Council on Active Aging.
Besides traditional activities like swimming, golf, and cultural opportunities, residents have enjoyed workshops on meditation, a Senior Health and Fitness Day featuring kayaking on a lake, scuba diving, and arts workshops and lectures on topics such as the Constitutional interpretation established by Supreme Court decisions.
For many, wellness at Vi also means being with furry loved ones. The various Vi communities have different amenities for pets, and pampering them can involve inviting veterinarians to wellness fairs, featuring residents' pets in a newsletter, or having Santa stop by at the holidays for a photo opp. Vi at Highlands Ranch in Denver even has an enclosed dog run, and Vi at Silverstone in Scottsdale, Arizona, has an enclosed dog park (with, of course, a canine drinking fountain).
To Live and to Serve
Vi residents are also encouraged to explore vocational wellness as well. This can mean extending their working lives as physicians, attorneys, financial executives, teachers, and professionals who now volunteer through community programs and organizations. Other residents spend their time pursuing new interests that can expand their goals.
Where is Vi?
Vi's 10 communities, located in six states, each have their own flavor.
There are two communities in Scottsdale, Arizona. Vi at Grayhawk, a Vi and Plaza Companies Community, overlooks the McDowell Mountains and is part of a master-planned community, which has been ranked as Number 1 in independent/assisted living by The Best of Arizona Business for 11 consecutive years. Apartments and casitas are available. Vi at Silverstone, also a Vi and Plaza Companies Community, is located in north Scottsdale (near the renowned Mayo Clinic) and features an 18-hole putting course and salt-filtered ponds. Apartments and villas are available.
Vi at La Jolla Village in California is an apartment-style residence located in San Diego's "Golden Triangle" community, featuring shopping, dining, parks, and walking trails, and is within a short distance to beaches and historical sites. Also in California is Vi at Palo Alto. The 23-acre community offers easy access to the Stanford Shopping Center, performing arts centers, dining, and walking trails. Downtown San Francisco is a short drive away.
In Denver, Colorado, Vi at Highlands Ranch is the only Type A continuing care facility in the state. The neighborhood-like community offers mountain views, a variety of floor plan options, and access to the cultural and recreational attractions in the city nearby.
Three Vi communities can be found in Florida. Vi at Aventura, a short drive from the action of downtown Miami, offers four apartment layout options within scenic high-rise buildings. In Lantana, which is near Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and Lake Worth and steps from Lake Osborne in Palm Beach County, Vi at Lakeside Village was designed for apartment and villa living in a club-style atmosphere and features an indoor heated pool. Vi at Bentley Village in Naples, on 156 acres and featuring apartments and coach homes, is a short distance from Florida's Gulf Coast beaches or the airport. Recreation increases a private 18-hole golf course, tennis and bocce courts, pools, and clubhouses. Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach, and Cape Coral are also nearby.
Chicago-area residents looking to stay nearby in retirement may opt for Vi at The Glen, located near the city and the North Shore and part of a 1,000-acre master planned community, with apartments and villas. Shopping and dining are within walking or driving distance.
Hilton Head Island in South Carolina -- featuring walking trails and marsh-front shoreline -- is where TidePointe residents call home. Its villas, verandas, and cottages are convenient to shopping, restaurants, and such attractions as Honey Horn Plantation and The Sea Pines Resort. A fee-for-service (Type C) facility, residents receive priority access to the care center, with the market rate charged for monthly or daily care center stays.
Every location, with the exception of TidePointe, offers Type A continuing care. With this arrangement, residents who move to the on-site care center continue paying the same monthly fee as they did in their independent living residence, with additional charges only for extra meals and ancillary items.
The Right Staff
Integrity, compassion, and excellence are the guiding principles behind the way Vi employees serve residents, but also behind the way those employees are treated and the company is managed. It strives to be an exceptional place to work. Personalized, courteous service and a passion for serving older adults are expected of employees, but they love coming to work because Vi creates friendly, family-like atmosphere where employees get to know residents and each other.
Vi also makes an investment in helping employees to learn and grow. Whether it's through free continuing education courses, professional certification courses, leadership development programs, language training, Vi's award-winning online university, or less formal mentoring by other team members, employees have many opportunities to expand their knowledge. Executive chefs, for example, are trained at the Culinary Institute of America. The aim is to help all employees refine their skills and acquire new experiences. Why? Because an investment in helping employees stay well trained and engaged creates the best service experience.
Not surprisingly, longevity in service is common. Many employees have well over 20 years of service to their communities, which is about the most experience even possible for a company that recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The average tenure of a Vi employee is five-and-a- half years, longer than at other companies in the industry.
In 2012, Vi received the highest-ever resident satisfaction scores in its history, as well as record- high employee engagement scores.
In addition, Chief Learning Officer Magazine named Vi the 2012 Best Small Company for Learning. And in both 2011 and 2012, the magazine awarded Vi LearningElite status. Training Magazine designated Vi as one of the Top 125 Learning Organizations in 2011, 2012, and 2013. And E-Learning Magazine named Vi as one of the Top 100 Learning Organizations in 2011 and 2012.
Compassion in Care
When residents need long-term care, employees' dedication and compassion are especially evident. The aim is to provide "an individualized, holistic approach to care and wellness" for those who need care, when they need it. Each Vi community has a care center designed for comfort and convenience, with stylish interiors to reflect what you would have with independent living. Spouse, neighbors, and friends in the community are still close by. Assisted living and skilled nursing care includes, at many locations, memory support care. Long-term care at Vi supports dignity, honors privacy, and encourages self-sufficiency.
Making Vi Home
Those who look into making a Vi Living community home often find they can do so at a cost comparable or even less expensive to what they spend at their own homes -- minus the worries over chores and upkeep. A home, services to support and enrich residents' lives, and care if they need it are available for a one-time entrance fee and a recurring monthly fee.
An additional entrance fee and monthly fee is charged to couples; this helps cover the cost of the life care benefits for the second person. Depending upon the terms of the contract, entrance fees may be fully or partially repayable to the resident if he or she leaves the community or to the resident's estate.
Vi aims for value, but it stands for hospitality and service in making retirement all it can be.
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