Assisted living facility to potentially open up opportunities for LU students

Photo by Kelby Lorenz
<br>Cedarhurst of St. Charles is currently under construction across the street from Lindenwood's campus. </br>

Photo by Kelby Lorenz
Cedarhurst of St. Charles is currently under construction across the street from Lindenwood's campus.

Phil Scherer | Reporter
Oct. 4, 2016; 7 a.m.

Photo by Kelby Lorenz Cedarhurst of St. Charles is currently under construction across the street from Lindenwood's campus.
Cedarhurst of St. Charles is currently under construction across the street from Lindenwood’s campus.
Photo by Kelby Lorenz

When Cedarhurst Assisted Living opens in early spring 2017, it may open up many internship opportunities for gerontology students, officials said.

According to the St. Louis Business Journal, Cedarhurst of St. Charles will cost approximately $18 million to complete. The facility will be made up of 76 assisted living apartments and 24 residences equipped for memory care services.

Officials at Lindenwood expect the facility to offer a number of opportunities for Lindenwood students.

Tina Grosso, the director of Lindenwood’s gerontology program, said that although nothing has been finalized, she is hopeful that her students will have plenty of chances to engage in the community.

“We would like to be able to send our students over there for a variety of internships and practicums and get them a true hands-on experience,” Grosso said.

She said the gerontology curriculum has something that can’t be taught simply by reading a textbook. She believes it requires real-life experience, especially for those students hoping to get jobs in assisted living administration.

Currently, students have to travel off campus for these opportunities, which causes issues for those without transportation.

She said that the university has had relationships with a number of facilities in the past, but that Cedarhurst would offer a centralized, local opportunity that would be available for all students involved in the program.

Photo by Kelby Lorenz The facility will feature 72 residences, and 24 spaces designed for memory care.
The facility will feature 76 residences, and 24 imemory care rooms. 
Photo by Kelby Lorenz

“This is a perfect opportunity for us,” Grosso said. “Both for our local students and for international students, this provides a more convenient opportunity.”

Grosso explained that this facility would allow her to change the way gerontology classes are taught. Classes would begin at the Lindenwood Cultural Center for an hour of theory and lessons from the textbook before going to Cedarhurst to put lessons into action.

When the project was officially announced on Oct. 5, 2015, officials said that students would have access to the care of senior citizens. This will include caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

In turn, the residents of the facility would also have access to events offered on Lindenwood’s campus.

This facility also would offer opportunities for other departments at Lindenwood.

Grosso said she could imagine various opportunities being available for students in departments, such as psychology, nursing and occupational health as well as things like music therapy.

Peggy Ellis, the head of Lindenwood’s nursing department, said nothing has been finalized to this point.

Opportunities with the different departments are expected to be finalized once the construction is complete and an executive director is chosen for the facility.