Continuously Innovating, Isakson Living Imparts Independent Lifestyles, Full Continuum of Care for Seniors

John Tabellione

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Isakson Living continues its legacy of enhancing Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) in Atlanta that provide active, independent lifestyles, better health care, and more control for its Members. It’s all possible thanks to its strategy of ongoing innovation at Park Springs CCRC and throughout the company.

As Managing Partner of Isakson Living, Andy Isakson leads the way, and it appears something new is continuously happening. When asked, “What’s New?” he quickly responded, “Pebblebrook at Park Springs in Stone Mountain, for which we have adopted the household model for Memory Care and Skilled Nursing. It’s two different licenses and two different types of products but we are adapting both to the household model. 

Isakson described households: “Instead of building our new health services center in an institutional fashion, where we have long halls and a task-oriented workforce, we are building the households in Pebblebrook at Park Springs like homes. Each household has a kitchen, a family-type dining room, and a living room, while each person in the household has a private room and a private bath. It’s open to outdoor spaces. It’s staffed consistently with care partners. It’s not ‘home-like.’ It’s ‘home.’ 

“It’s all about having relationships with caregivers and members. It’s been done around the country; it’s been done in Europe. The household model hadn’t been done here, so we’re excited about introducing it in Georgia. We even have our own geriatric medical practice here.”

Pebblebrook at Park Springs, the new Skilled Nursing and Dementia Care Facility replaces those functions in Park Springs’ existing health center, Cobblestone, which will be converted to assisted living suites.

For those healthier seniors who seek independent living, Isakson Living created Park Springs in 2004 as a resort-style retirement experience, featuring 400 spacious homes, cottages, and villas set on over 50, beautiful, landscaped acres. This flagship community has been nationally recognized, including an award from the National Association of Home Builders for design excellence.

Modeled after resort hotels, amenities include a clubhouse, library, art rooms, game courts, and outdoor trails, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness center with a vacation-style spa, pools, trainers and classes. 

Interestingly, the CCRC concept for the Atlanta market grew out of a need for Andy and his siblings—who include Senator Johnny Isakson—to find a retirement option for their parents that combined an elegant, active lifestyle with onsite health care. 

“We’re also building Peachtree Hills Place, a new community down in the in the Buckhead/Midtown area. We’re doing it as a condominium with a club and with healthcare. With the healthcare, we’re building the household model there, too,” said Isakson. “We started selling there about three months ago and we already hit 50 percent of our pre-sales goal. We’re going to start construction of that project in 2017. It’ll be the first CCRC community built inside of the Perimeter in 40 years.”

As for challenges ahead, Isakson noted the continuous growth of Baby Boomers entering retirement years and the fact that the number of seniors is growing quite faster than the demographics of the caregivers. “Getting good people on our team is one of the main focuses we have,” he noted. 

“For the right kind of person working in an Isakson Living community can be really rewarding. It’s about relationships. The members at Park Springs do an employee appreciation fund every year. I think last year they raised about $350,000. This year $400,000 is their goal. They raise that for our staff out here. It’s an illustration of a really great bond, a strong relationship between the members and the staff.” 

In partnership with its members and employees, Isakson Living uses a collaborative leadership style, meaning management seeks continuity with those they serve and those they employ to deliver communities people want to live and work in. 

With the opening of Pebblebrook, staff members are going through extensive training with experts in this model of care.  Prior to opening, all staff will go through two weeks of special training in the new building. Isakson expects ongoing training to be an essential element in this culture change process.  Ongoing training and opening a second CCRC in the market will afford our staff opportunities to advance their careers and grow with the company, says Isakson.  

Elaborating on the subject of innovative training, Isakson continued, “I’m going to Philadelphia in January to visit a skilled nursing household I’ve found through my research. Not many of those around. We’re taking our staff on the road to visit some other people that have done it before, so we can see it in action. It’s part of our training process. We’re taking some care partners and house nurses, our doctors, our administration people up there. They’re going to be able to shadow their counterparts in a household model in a community in Pennsylvania.”

About John Tabellione

John Tabellione is an award-winning, professional business writer, complemented by over twenty-five years of strategic communication responsibilities as a Marketing, New Business Development and National Account Sales Executive in consumer goods and commercial industries. 

Experience with Fortune 500 companies, as well as with smaller firms and non-profits, encompassing a variety of products, including those of Georgia-Pacific, Kimberly-Clark and Stanley Works. 

John has a B.A. in English from Fairfield University and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Hartford. In addition, he has studied Russian at the Defense Language Institute at Syracuse University, and Italian language and culture at Kennesaw State University.