I've had a number of clients at RiverWoods over the years and now. They offer independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, and long-term care"”as well as a wellness center"”but no formal memory care.
It's located on a 200-acre campus on the outskirts of Exeter. It's the only CCRC on the New Hampshire seacoast, and it's not very accessible from the highway. It does offer easy access to shops and restaurants in Exeter, but it's 20-25 minutes from Portsmouth, the closest large town.
There are actually three campuses in all, two on one side of the road and one on the other. They're all easily navigable once inside, and the apartments"”studios or 1 bedroom units--are good size. Residents are required to bring their own furnishings, but most people consider that a plus. It makes everything familiar and cozy is the way one of my clients puts it. Even in skilled nursing, residents are expected to provide everything except the hospital bed.
The grounds are beautiful; the landscaping is impeccable. And each campus has a library, an art gallery, and a pool.
They always seem to have adequate staff, and they're very attentive to details: symptoms, appointments, follow-up. The social worker I know in the skilled nursing unit is very connected to her families. I would like to see staff receive more formal training in dealing with dementia residents and the behaviors which accompany them. I haven't known them to ask dementia residents to leave; they just don't offer any special help.
I haven't eaten there, but my clients say the food is very good. But again, for the memory impaired, there's not a lot of interaction to help them with that.
Activities are largely geared to the clients they're bringing in: classical music, a lot of outings to things like the Boston Pops, repertory theater, that kind of thing. And their internal transportation is outstanding. They have a van and a fleet of care, and the drivers are expertly trained. I've been really impressed with that"”though the staff can be a little overcautious in terms of who needs an escort to a doctor's appointment, for example.
Activities in skilled nursing"“Bingo, music groups--aren't terrible, but there's room for improvement.