October 1, 2020

Essex Meadows, a Nationally Recognized “Life Care Retirement Community,” Celebrates its 25th Anniversary

The impressive portico at the entrance of Essex Meadows

The impressive portico at the entrance of Essex Meadows

Essex Meadows, which is located at 30 Bokum Road in Essex, Connecticut, is a treasure in our midst. This coming year, 2013, “The Meadows,” as everyone calls it, will celebrate its 25th Anniversary. To give our readers a unique perspective as to how the Meadows operates, and why it has achieved nationally recognized stature as a retirement community, we have submitted the questions below to the Meadow’s Director of Marketing, Susan Carpenter, for her to answer.

Our questions are in bold face type, and Ms. Carpenter’s answers follow each question. So let us begin:

1) How many total residents are there at Essex Meadows?

There are approximately 240 residents.  Several live in Essex year round, and many maintain second homes in places like Fishers Island, Florida, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Essex Meadows resident Jean Ryan by the entrance Christmas Tree at the Meadows

Essex Meadows resident Jean Ryan by the entrance Christmas Tree at the Meadows

2) How many residential apartments, and how many individual homes, are there at the Meadows, and what is the size and layout of each category?

We have 183 apartments, 13 cottages, and 45 skilled nursing beds in our Health Center.  Two thirds of the apartments, and all of the cottages, feature two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and they range in size from 1,050 to 2,400 square feet.  We also offer several different one bedroom layouts, some with dens, ranging from 600 to 900 square feet.  Some of these have one bath while others offer 1 ½ baths.

3) What are some of the amenities at the Meadows, such the golf course (How many holes?), library and dining room?

Our Executive Golf Course is a “par three,” and it is home to the annual Essex Fire Department Golf Tournament.  We also offer croquet, walking trails, and a large garden area with raised and traditional flower beds for our outdoor enthusiasts.  For those who prefer indoor activities we have a swimming pool, fitness center, art studio, library, Pub, and woodworking shop.

C. Allan Borchet, former Chairman, Residents Council of Essex Meadows and model shipbuilder

C. Allan Borchet, former Chairman, Residents Council of Essex Meadows and model shipbuilder


4) Anything else?

The Community has everything you need for an active lifestyle right at your fingertips. The Niagara Bank has a full service branch right on campus. Next door to the bank is “Meadowmart,”our full service in-house grocery store, which is entirely run by resident volunteers. We carry the best and most inexpensive selection of greeting cards in town. Great bridge mix too.

5) What are the categories of care at the Meadows, such as ordinary resident care and assisted living care?

Our apartments and cottages offer independent living with the security of knowing that our licensed Assisted Living Program can step in to provide supportive services as health needs change.  These services can include neighborly services such as walking your dog or watering your plants, to more complex health services including assistance with medication management and help with a resident’s activities of daily living.

6) What services does the Meadow’s Health Center provide?

For the past three years our Health Center, which provides professional clinical services and nursing care, has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top skilled care facilities in the country.  The Health Center offers short term rehabilitation, respite care, long term custodial care, and Hospice services.  Hospice is also available in our apartments and cottages for those whose end of life decision is to remain at home.

7) What kind of health care professionals are there on duty, or on call, at the Meadows on a given day?

We have professionals, both on the independent living side and the skilled nursing side.  Our staffing patterns vary according to acuity or need.  Our staffing levels are significantly higher than State regulations require.  Angela Christie and Kathleen Dess are responsible in these areas. Kathleen is the Administrator of our Health Center, while Angela is the Director of Resident Health Services.

(l to r) Essex Meadow's senior staff: Angela Christie, Director of Resident Health; Susan Carpenter, Director of Marketing Services, and Kathleen Dess, Administrator of the Health Center,  in the Residents' library

(l to r) Essex Meadow’s senior staff: Angela Christie, Director of Resident Health; Susan Carpenter, Director of Marketing Services, and Kathleen Dess, Administrator of the Health Center, in the Residents’ library

8) What is the ownership structure of the Meadows?

Essex Meadows is a family owned business incorporated in Iowa.  The board of directors visits quarterly to meet with the residents and the management team.  Essex Meadows is managed by LifeCare Services, LLC.

9) Who is the Executive Director of the Meadows?

 Our Executive Director is Jennifer Rannestad. We also have management input from an active Residents Council and various resident committees.

Jennifer Rannestad, Executive Director of Essex Meadows, at the entrance of Essex's premier retirement community

Jennifer Rannestad, Executive Director of Essex Meadows, at the entrance of Essex’s premier retirement community

10) What are the cost arrangements at the Meadows for buying and selling the apartments and separate homes?

In addition to payment for meals and necessity of life services, our popular Return-of-Capital plan has been offered at Essex Meadows since it opened its doors in 1988.  Residents and/or their estates receive a large portion of their original Admission Payment back after their cottage or apartment has been resold.

11) Is there another ownership alternative for residents?

Yes, the Flex Plan is our newest financial option to maximize choice and flexibility, when it comes to retirement planning.  For those who prefer a plan that demands less up front capital, the Flex Plan offers a reduced Admission Payment.  While there is no return of capital to the estate, a resident has the ability to continue to control his or her assets and invest their savings as they wish.

12) What are the specifics of the cognitive test that applicants to the Meadows must take before they are accepted as residents?

Our health-evaluation process requires that paperwork be completed by an applicant’s physician as well as a meeting with our Director of Resident Health Services.  In addition to asking an applicant about their general health and activities of daily living, we use standardized cognitive scales in our evaluation.  The Mini Mental Status Exam and St. Louis University Mental Status Exam are two such examples commonly used by life-care communities and long term care insurance providers nationwide.

13) Is there a review process of the cognitive test results?

The results of this health-evaluation process are reviewed with the Essex Meadows Medical Director.  The results of the interview will be considered along with the information that is provided by the applicant’s physician.

14) Who has the final say in accepting a new resident at the Meadows?

Each applicant must meet both medical and financial criteria for residency.  It is the role of Executive Director to review both the medical and financial information for each applicant to make a decision for occupancy consistent with the admission policy established by our Board of Directors.

15) Who assumes the risk of paying for the long-term care of residents?

Because Essex Meadows is a life-care community, the financial risk of long-term care is a cost shared by the whole community.  Therefore an individual resident does not have the financial exposure of having to pay the high costs of nursing home care should those services be needed.  Some residents consider this an alternative to long term care insurance when planning for future health care costs.

16) What do you view are the unique aspects of Essex Meadows that average nursing homes might generally not provide?

The Essex Meadows provides a beautifully appointed residential atmosphere, a resident centered approach to care, and is well staffed. These are just a few of the reasons as to why Essex Meadows provides exceptional care, as well as specialized services in its adjoining Health Center.

17) Are there any other benefits to residents at Essex Meadows, which you feel deserve to be mentioned?

We believe that our residents are the most wonderful and unique part of our lifestyle benefits.  Furthermore, residents have generously organized and administered a scholarship fund for Meadows’ employees and their children. To date, the scholarship fund has provided over 400 grants, totally more than $750,000.

18) Do Essex Meadows residents take an interest in the Town of Essex?

Our residents have a great love of the Essex community.  They are lifelong learners, patrons of the arts, and protectors of the environment.  Essex Meadows is involved in the general community creating partnerships and relationships with those organizations that our residents would also support as individuals.

Essex Meadows has also been a great corporate contributor and supporter of the Connecticut River Museum, the Community Music School, the Essex Winter Series, the Ivoryton Playhouse, the Essex Library, FISH, the Essex Garden Club, Essex Child & Family Services Agency, the Essex Fire Department, Ivoryton Illuminations, the Essex Rotary Club, Essex Land Trust, the Essex Historical Society, and many others.


19) Have there ever been any marriages between residents at the Meadows, or any other “human interest” stories at the facility.

There have been no marriages, but the creation of many deep and meaningful friendships.  One of the most interesting aspects of the Meadows is that despite the geographical diversity of its residents before coming to the Meadows, many residents have social connections dating back to their childhood days, college years, summer camps, vacations, board memberships, private clubs and the like.

As for “human interest” stories, we have residents Art and Peg Howe, who engage in ice cutting on Squam Lake in winter, Jean Luberg and her tandem sky diving, published authors such as Nicole Prevost Logan and Jeanne West, and many very talented and successful people at Essex Meadows. They all have wonderful stories to tell, including two of our residents who celebrated their 105th birthdays this past year.