Serenades by Sonata Memory Care Assisted Living Recognized as “2012 Best of the Best-Program to Spotlight” by ALFA

Serenades by Sonata Memory Care Assisted Living Recognized as “2012 Best of the Best-Program to Spotlight” by ALFA

Orlando, FL – April 9th, 2012 – Sonata Senior Living’s memory care assisted living “Serenades  by Sonata”, has been recognized by the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) as a 2012 “Best of the Best” for “Program to Spotlight”.  This is the second consecutive year that Serenades has received recognition as a “Best of the Best” recipient by the association. Over the last six months, Sonata Senior Living has opened two communities, located in Longwood and Melbourne Florida, offering the award winning Serenades’ Program. A third is currently underway in Winter Garden, Florida, and is scheduled to open late 2012.

The Assisted Living Federation of America is the largest national association dedicated exclusively to professionally operated senior living communities. ALFA’s Best of the Best Awards recognize operators with services or programs that make significant contributions advancing operational excellence in senior living. According to ALFA’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Jamison J. Gosselin, Serenades earned this distinct award for its purpose built design and Sonata’s commitment to raise the bar for all memory care assisted living providers.

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are challenged by large, unstructured spaces that have a high quantity or unpredictable number of people sharing the space. According to Shelley Esden, SVP of Operations at Sonata Senior Living, “Most communities modify wings to ‘create’ a secured memory care setting. A purpose built community specifically addresses the unique needs of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia is a much superior solution.”  Esden adds, “A successful physical plant for memory care residents consists of well-developed neighborhood floor plan that integrates the latest security technologies to promote the feeling of freedom and reduces a resident’s feeling of confinement.” Permanently assigned staff, homelike furnishings and décor, and multi-sensory cueing throughout contribute to a resident’s ability to achieve daily successes and are trademark components of Sonata communities.

Sonata’s purpose-built design incorporates the latest innovations and design considerations into three distinct resident neighborhoods and one family area surrounding a large internal courtyard. Each neighborhood consists of 14 resident apartments, a living room, family style kitchen and dining room, and front porch opening to the overly landscaped internal courtyard. The facility is decorated in a cottage style domestic, aesthetically comforting manner, helping residents and family members feel more at ease and “at home”. For more information call 407-286-6490.

About Sonata Senior Living

Sonata Senior Living is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sonata Health Care, LLC. Based in Orlando, FL., Sonata is an owner, developer and operator of senior living communities offering independent livingassisted living and memory care. The Sonata team is comprised of experienced senior housing executives who have been instrumental in the development and operations of more than 20 Central Florida senior housing communities.

About ALFA

Founded in 1990, ALFA serves as the voice for operators of senior living communities and the seniors and families those communities serve. The members of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) exemplify the principles of choice, dignity, and independence for seniors. To support these principles and to enhance quality of life for seniors, ALFA influences public policy, promotes business excellence, and ensures an informed public.

Read the article in FloridaToday.com

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Changing Their Story

Changing Their Story

By Julie Fernandez, Executive Director

If you have ever been involved in the assisted living industry in the greater Orlando, FL area, we’ve probably met.  I’ve worked for you or with you; hired you or let you go; shared happy stories and many tears.  After over 20 years in the business of assisted living, chances are very good that I’ve cared for someone you know or love. The possibility that our paths have crossed is very, very good.

I am a professional caregiver. My focus of care throughout the years has been caring for those living with a diagnosis of memory loss, primarily those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the very ugly of what this industry does to caregivers and to those we care for, both directly and indirectly. What I’ve never seen throughout these many years is an assisted living facility that provides more than three meals a day and assistance with activities of daily living. A place where people come to flourish and where their future is not one of sadness and loss but of purpose and meaning. I’ve never seen this that is, until now. Because, now I work for Serenades by Sonata Memory Care Assisted Living by Sonata Health Care. And Sonata Health Care has figured out a way to do it right.

Building a Better Box

A building is just a box.  It can be a big box or a small box. It can sit on a city street or be the house next door. Some are shiny and pretty, some, well not so much. What the box typically never is though, is designed for those who will reside and work there. Just like everyone else who works, the majority of our waking hours are spent in the “box” where we work. So, it’s about time that those building these communities ask those who work in them for their input of what these “boxes” should look like; what they should feel like; how they should be built to make a difference in the lives of the people who will live (and work!) in them.

Studies show that good design leads to a better quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Can architecture and interior design really play a role in helping these individuals’ lives by enhancing their sense of dignity and self-esteem? Can a “box” be built that will create an atmosphere that is supportive and promotes independence while providing a peaceful, secure, and familiar home? Yes, it can. And I’m seeing this transformation in the residents at Serenades every day. It is life-changing.

Serenades’ purpose-built design is a result of a collaborative effort between memory care design AND operational professionals. The primary objective was to create a community that successfully integrates the principles of person-directed care and creates an environment that facilitates and promotes empowering staff and building partnerships with families.

Wide Open Spaces Engage Wellness

People with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are challenged by large, unstructured spaces that have a high quantity or unpredictable number of people sharing the space.  A successful physical plant, or the architectural portion of a resident-care environment, consists of well-developed neighborhood floor plans that create opportunities for residents with dementia to engage and succeed. The successful environment will operationally and architecturally encourage residents to use their retained abilities by maximizing ease in finding their way, familiarity and their feeling of freedom and control, while reducing opportunities for failure and feeling of confinement.

In fact, recent studies have shown that the environment strongly influences the behavior of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease because their diminished memory and reasoning capacities cause them to respond more intensively to the immediate environment than the cognitively unimpaired, or non-dementia person.

Fresh Air in Our Secure Courtyard

Another important feature to both the resident and the caregivers is allowing the resident to have direct access to safe and secure outdoor spaces.  At Serenades, there is both greater visual and physical access to a pleasant outside environment.  With unimpaired access to an impressive outdoor area, the Serenades residents are experiencing far fewer incidents of active exit-seeking.  They seem to have a sense of freedom, of not being “imprisoned” and behaviors typically experienced by those with Alzheimer’s such as Sun-downingaimless wandering, and agitation are rarely seen. There are many benefits to being outside, including exposure to natural sunlight. Depression is often triggered by deprivation of light, and the light levels found indoors are usually not sufficient to regulate circadian rhythm – our biological clocks – or to stimulate production of melatonin, which helps to regulate sleep/awake patterns. Some residents with dementia may have to be encouraged to go outside through the use of planned activities, but the benefits of this can be enormous.

The careful design of the Serenades product offers a soothing and comforting environment for all who enter. Building in naturally familiar places such as the kitchen/dining areasliving roomssun porches and outdoor courtyards have proven to eliminate sources of frustration and support independent actions and personal choices.  These are areas that create confidence in everyday activities – not just a pretty box. Sonata Health Care has found a way to give their Residents, caregivers and families the heart that lives in the box and are Changing Their Story.

Guide to Finding the Right Memory Care Community for Your Loved One


Looking for the right memory care community can be challenging. You want to make sure you find the best place for your loved one, while dealing with a range of emotions. The entire family feels the impact when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's or a related form of dementia.

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Serenades: A Memory-Care Facility with the Feel of Home and Family

Serenades: A Memory-Care Facility with the Feel of Home and Family

Imagine a memory-care facility where residents can walk out to a sunny courtyard on their own, host family gatherings in an intimate living room or eat their meals whenever they please.

Imagination has become reality with Serenades by Sonata, a new concept in living for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Serenades, a 42-unit, 57-bed purpose-built facility, is already winning “best of the best” accolades from the Assisted Living Federation of America, which has named it a program to watch.

“They’ve recognized that we’re changing memory-care programming with this model,” says Brooke Ellis, the vice president of sales and marketing for Sonata Senior Living. The company has operated facilities in Central Florida for more than a decade. “We think in terms of the three P’s at Serenades: Purpose-built design; person-directed care, which means we really want to get to know the residents and build services around them; and partnerships with families, which means we want to hear all about their loved one and get the families involved in the community.”

Serenades by Sonata, which opened in September, is built like a square doughnut, Ellis says, with the secure courtyard in the middle. The front area provides space for family visits, as well as computers that families can use, space for support groups and a resource library. The other three areas house three small neighborhoods where residents have private rooms, eat meals in a comfortable, family-kitchen-like setting and can walk outside to the sunny courtyard whenever they please. The facility also provides a range of medical care, some of it through third-party providers, which allows residents to age in place.

“This is the only place of its kind in the area,” Ellis says. “You have to see it to believe it.”

This article originally appeared in the October – November 2011 edition of “Lake Mary Health & Wellness Magazine”.

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Dealing With Dementia

Dealing With Dementia

By 2020 the percentage of older adults is expected to grow 35 percent and number more than 54 million. Couple that with the fact that the 85 and older group is now the fastest growing segment of society. These demographics unfortunately bring with them many realities including soaring rates of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Every 69 seconds a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2020 the number of Floridians suffering from this disease is anticipated to increase 42 percent. Although public awareness has increased funding for research and great strides have been made, there is currently no cure on the immediate horizon. With the tidal wave of seniors expected as the Baby Boomers age, the impact this disease will have on families and stay-at-home caregivers will increase dramatically.

The Impact on Families

In 2010, there were an estimated 960,037 Florida families providing over 1 billion hours of unpaid care. The 2011 Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures finds that caregivers not only suffer emotionally, but also physically. Because of the toll of caregiving on their own health, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $7.9 billion in additional health care costs in 2010.

There will come a time when a person with Alzheimer’s disease will likely need more care than can be provided at home. Although the individual may need to move into residential care, such as an assisted living community or a nursing home, many families are not satisfied with current options that are available. Thanks to public awareness and a Baby Boomer population not afraid to voice their demands, new housing alternatives are under development.

Planning for a move into a memory care facility should begin well before admission is needed. This advanced planning allows families to:

  • Learn about what care options are available.
  • Determine which options will best be able to meet the needs of an individual with dementia.
  • Anticipate the costs of care and find resources to help pay for them.
  • Learn about community resources available from your local Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Resource Center.

Types of Alzheimer’s Care Settings

Historically, there have been limited care and housing options offered for individuals with memory impairments. Currently, some assisted living communities have a wing or section that has been secured and offers care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Nursing homes also provide care in an institutional setting for those requiring 24-hour nursing care and supervision.

In response to public demand and the growing number of individuals needing specialized care, communities dedicated exclusively to memory care are on the rise. “Dedicated memory care communities are the culmination of best practices and the latest research in Alzheimer’s disease, and may be the best hope yet for providing quality lifestyles for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia,” says Stuart Beebe, CEO for Sonata Senior Living.

For more information about research, community resources and much more, visit Alz.org.

Guide to Finding the Right Memory Care Community for Your Loved One


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New Longwood Memory Care Assisted Living Community, Serenades by Sonata, Celebrates Grand Opening

New Longwood Memory Care Assisted Living Community, Serenades by Sonata, Celebrates Grand Opening

Longwood, FL, Oct. 1, 2011 – More than 200 area dignitaries, community officials and senior living industry professionals joined Sonata Senior Living in celebrating the grand opening of its new memory care assisted living community, Serenades by Sonata last month.  Located on Ronald Reagan Boulevard, Serenades is the first memory care assisted living community to open in Longwood in 13 years. The state-of-the-art, purpose-built community features compassionate person centered care delivered by a highly trained team, award-winning memory care programming, and 42 residential suites located in three intimate neighborhoods.

The Grand Opening Celebration began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Sonata Senior Living CEO Stuart Beebe, Seminole County Regional Chamber President Frank Hale, Longwood Mayor Joe Durso and Serenades by Sonata Executive Director Julie Fernandez cut the ceremonial ribbon.

Guests enjoyed a progressive dinner while touring the community. Tour highlights included:

  • A visit to each of the three distinct residential neighborhoods
  • Resident room models
  • Neighborhood Reflections Room
  • Information of the community’s innovative safety features and technologies including smartboards and Apple TV.

“At Serenades by Sonata, seniors with memory challenges find the care, services, amenities and programs to live an independent a life as possible,” says Shelley Esden, Senior Vice President of Operations at Sonata Senior Living. “Ultimately, our goal is to ensure they also enjoy a meaningful and fulfilling lifestyle.”

Carolyn Sithong, OTR/L, SCEM, an area occupational therapist specially certified in environmental modifications and guest at the grand opening, said she found Serenades warm and inviting throughout every environmental aspect. “Architecturally and culturally every area, every niche and every staff member resounded a person-centered theme,” she said. “Our loved ones who live through the difficulties of dementia will, without a doubt, experience home as it relates to comfort and wellbeing at Serenades.”

She adds, “To visit Serenades is to experience home. We know that those who suffer from dementia never lose their ability to feel comfort, love and security – at Serenades, they will. Providing an environment like Serenades allows our community to have a home for people with memory loss, where they can safely live with dignity and new opportunity.”

About Serenades by Sonata         

Located at 425 S. Ronald Reagan Boulevard (1/4-mile south of SR 434), Serenades by Sonata is the first dedicated memory care assisted living community to be built in Seminole County since 1998.  Now open, the $8.6 million, 34,000 square- foot community features 42 private and shared memory care suites and employs 41 people.  For more information please call 407-951-6450 or visit us at www.serenadesbysonata.com.           

About Sonata Senior Living  

Sonata Senior Living is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sonata Health Care, LLC. Based in Orlando, FL., Sonata is an owner, developer and operator of senior living communities offering independent living, assisted living and memory care.  The Sonata team is comprised of experienced senior housing executives who have been instrumental in the development and operations of more than 20 Central Florida senior housing communities.

For more information call 407-286-6490.

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Serenades by Sonata Grand Opening Celebration & Open House

Serenades by Sonata Grand Opening Celebration & Open House

Longwood, FL, – August 22, 2011 – Serenades by Sonata is hosting a Grand Opening Celebration & Open House on September 3rd and 4th from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at its new community, Serenades by Sonata, located at 425 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd. in Longwood.

The community is invited to attend. Guests will enjoy light refreshments and will have the opportunity to tour the community and learn more about this award-winning memory care neighborhood.

Serenades by Sonata is Seminole County’s first memory care community in 13 years, offering a lifestyle intended to inspire joy with its purpose-built design, person-directed care and commitment to strong partnerships with families. This one-of-a-kind memory care assisted living community has been intentionally designed to implement best practices and the latest research in Alzheimer’s disease.

Other community features include three distinct, intimate neighborhoods, an enclosed courtyard with walking paths and therapeutic gardens, neighborhood family dining, individual and group activities, as well as a 24-hour licensed nurse on-site and many other services and amenities.

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Serenades by Sonata Memory Care Assisted Living Community Opens Leasing Center

Serenades by Sonata Memory Care Assisted Living Community Opens Leasing Center

Longwood, FL, — April 11, 2011 — Sonata Senior Living is pleased to announce the opening of the Serenades by Sonata Leasing Center.

The new Serenades by Sonata Leasing Center will provide area residents with any and all information regarding the community and its commitment to person-centered memory care. The community features a purpose-built design, which means every inch of the community has been crafted to meet the needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory challenges.

At the Serenades by Sonata Leasing Center, those concerned about loved ones may stop by, meet the team and view the various suites that are available, as well as explore the award-winning services and amenities offered at Serenades by Sonata. Serenades is Longwood’s first memory care assisted living community in 15 years, and features an approach to care and lifestyle intended to Inspire Joy. The community will open this July.

The Serenades Leasing Center is located on the site at 425 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd. in Longwood. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.

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Leasing Center Grand Opening Celebration at Serenades by Sonata Memory Care Assisted Living Community

Leasing Center Grand Opening Celebration at Serenades by Sonata Memory Care Assisted Living Community

Longwood, FL, – April 6, 2011 – Serenades by Sonata is pleased to invite area residents to celebrate the grand opening of its Leasing Center on April 30, 2011. Guests may stop by anytime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The Serenades Leasing Center is located on the site of the future community at 425 S. Ronald Reagan Boulevard in Longwood.

The event will highlight the features that make Serenades by Sonata different from any other memory care assisted living community. Serenades is the first memory care assisted living community to open in Longwood over the last 15 years. The community was carefully planned to fulfill our core philosophy of purpose-built design, person-directed care and partnerships with families. Recognized by the Assisted Living Federation of America for it’s design and programming, Serenades will open this July.

Guests will enjoy refreshments, light fare, and entertainment from WLOQ 103.1 Smooth Jazz, as well as receive valuable information relating to Alzheimer’s and dementia. Special guest resource affiliates such as an Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return Representative, Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center and Seminole County Sheriff’s Elder Crimes & Services will also be on hand. At the event, guests may enroll in the Safe Return Program. Sonata will pay the membership fee for the first 10 to enroll.

To RSVP or for more information, call Serenades at 407-951-6450.

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Sonata Welcomes New Executive Director to Longwood Community

Sonata Welcomes New Executive Director to Longwood Community

Serenades by Sonata Memory Care Assisted Living Introduces Julie Fernandez

Longwood, FL, – April 4, 2011 – Sonata Senior Living is pleased to announce that Julie Fernandez has been selected as Serenades by Sonata’s Executive Director. Julie is most recently recognized for her position at Oakmonte Village at Lake Mary, where she was the Director of Marketing.

Having held such positions in the past such as Campus Administrator (Alterra Healthcare), Vice President of Program Development (Spring Hills Communities), and Vice President of Operations and Marketing (Legacy Senior Management), Julie adds a unique skills set and an additional dedicated work ethic to the Sonata team.

Her esteemed efforts at her previous positions have led her to Sonata and the organization looks forward to working with Julie as she spearheads the efforts at Serenades by Sonata, Longwood’s first memory care assisted living community in 15 years.  Julie is a certified Dementia Care Practitioner, has served on multiple Alzheimer’s and other senior advocate boards, and shares the Sonata vision of raising the bar for senior living in Central Florida.

Julie’s passion for this particular industry matches the mission of Serenades by Sonata, with their implementation of a purpose-built design, person-directed care, partnerships with families, and exceptional memory care programming. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to join the Sonata team. The community (Serenades) itself is truly incredible and it’s an honor to be in a supportive role to drive the underlying mission of Serenades, as well as Sonata Health Care itself,” stated Julie Fernandez.

Sonata looks forward to all Julie will bring to the Longwood community and warmly welcomes her to the team.

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Sonata Senior Living Named Best of the Best Programs to Watch in Assisted Living Executive

Sonata Senior Living Named Best of the Best Programs to Watch in Assisted Living Executive

Orlando, FL – April 2011 – As judges reviewed the 2011 Best of the Best Awards entries, several programs stood out as great innovations in the early stages of development or without enough success measurements to fully assess at this point. We’re eager to see the results as these organizations continue to implement their great ideas.

Sonata Senior Living, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, is developing a new memory care community with resident-directed rather than program-centered scheduling in mind. At Serenades by Sonata, multisensory cues such as touch, sound, and smell will be used throughout to provide residents with reminders of the purpose of particular spaces. For example, amber lighting in bathrooms will help cue residents who get up at night to use the bathroom. Residents will have unimpeded access to secure outdoor areas, and a wireless e-call system and door and window contacts will alert staff of resident emergencies.

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Seniors and their families can rest assured that our personal approach to care carries over from one community to the next, allowing as many opportunities as possible for residents to live life their way.

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