Anthem memory care community Highlight Place
Highline Place, an Anthem Memory Care community located in Littleton, CO. (Image credit: Anthem Memory Care)

Lake Oswego, OR-based Anthem Memory Care has become the first stand-alone memory care provider to achieve recognition at all of its communities for the company’s commitment to promoting a safer and healthier environment under the WELL Health-Safety Rating.

Anthem spent almost four months pursuing the rating after learning about it in 2021, achieving it for facility operations and management of all 21 of its communities. The company operates and develops memory care communities in California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Utah and Washington.

To achieve the rating, Anthem implemented features including air and water quality management, clearing and sanitization procedures, emergency preparedness and health services resources.

Anthem Chief Operating Officer Lewis McCoy told McKnight’s Senior Living that it was a “very detailed process,” and he encouraged other providers to dedicate the appropriate resources to evaluate the criteria, collect the data, visit sites and oversee the project from start to finish.

“Demonstrating our care and concern for not only residents, families, guests and employees is a critical component of the value proposition of living and working at an Anthem Memory Care community,” McCoy said. “The WELL Health-Safety rating allows us an opportunity to highlight the policies, processes, systems and tools for maintaining a healthy and safe place for individuals to live and work.”

Validation from the IWBI provides a greater level of credibility in the company’s marketing efforts regarding its focus on resident and employee well-being, he added.

Providers considering pursuing the rating should consider naming a project champion to lead the effort while involving key community-level team members in collecting data and validating practices set forth by the home office, McCoy advised. He also recommended applying for the rating using more than minimum qualifications. 

“In doing so, Anthem achieved the WELL Health-Safety Rating with one of the highest number of criteria met, which will be useful in demonstrating the array of health and safety measures to our customer groups,” McCoy said.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the senior living sector is “held to much higher expectations than other industries when it comes to providing safer environments for living and working,” International WELL Building Institute CEO Rachel Hodgdon noted in a recent guest column for McKnight’s Senior Living.

The WELL Health-Safety program, she said, is helping senior living communities create environments that are more hospitality oriented, reduce employee stress and burnout, foster employee engagement and retention, and ensure the well-being of residents and families.

600+ communities commit

More than 600 senior living communities around the world have committed to or have achieved the WELL Health-Safety Rating or WELL certification from IWBI. 

Chicago-based Enlivant was the first senior living provider to earn the WELL Health-Safety Rating for facility operations and management, which it obtained for the company’s entire portfolio of 215 senior living communities. Sunrise Senior Living had the first senior living community achieve WELL certification at the Silver level and a WELL Health-Safety Rating, as well as LEED Silver certification, in 2021. 

Inspir Carnegie Hill, a Maplewood Senior Living community in Manhattan, became the first assisted living community in New York City to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating. The Jewish Home of Rochester in New York also achieved the WELL Health-Safety Rating, and the Views Senior Living of Marion in Iowa achieved WELL certification at the Gold level. 

Irvine, CA-based real estate investment trust Sabra Health Care REIT is encouraging all of its operators to pursue the rating as part of its environmental, social and governance initiatives. Sabra also is a collaborator in the Wellness Innovation in Senior Environments, or WISE, initiative and its Well Living Lab.

At the same time, Aegis Living Lake Union recently became the first assisted living community built following the global green building standards for the Living Building Challenge Petal Certification through the International Living Future Institute. The community is designed to be emission-free and energy-efficient, using solar power and rainwater.