The Fountains at Carlotta
Home for everybody
Business View Magazine interviews representatives from the Fountains at Carlotta, as part of our focus on continuing care retirement communities.
The Fountains at Carlotta is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) located on a 22-acre, gated campus in Palm Desert, California. It consists of a total of 255 residences in four categories: Independent Living at The Town Center (111), Independent Living at The Casitas (63), Assisted Living at The Inn (36), and Skilled Nursing at The Springs (45). In addition, the Fountains contains shared spaces that are reminiscent of a resort, featuring rose and cactus gardens, a well-stocked library, a computer center, a billiards and game room, a state-of-the-art fitness center, two outdoor swimming pools, a putting green, and two full-service beauty salons and barber shop.
Independent Living at The Town Center offers a variety of floor plans, and the Fountains’ onsite Design Center helps residents personalize their units with an impressive menu of custom upgrades, from colors to finishes and fixtures. Each residence at The Town Center includes: oversized windows with breathtaking courtyard or mountain views; a full kitchen with frost-free refrigerator, electric oven, range, and a dishwasher; spacious closets; storage space and covered parking; 30 restaurant-style dinners per month; housekeeping and maintenance services; a trained staff available 24 hours per day; scheduled local transportation services; 24-hour concierge service; all utilities except phone services; a dynamic calendar of classes, activities, and outings including Watermark University classes; wellness screenings and fitness lectures; and a resident emergency response system.
Independent Living at The Casitas includes all of the above, plus designer kitchens with granite countertops and modern appliances; nine-foot ceilings; and a private patio or balcony. Assisted Living at The Inn includes three chef-prepared meals, daily. Skilled Nursing at The Springs includes: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy; three daily restaurant style meals plus healthy snacks; private and semiprivate accommodations; 24-hour staffing with a Registered Nurse; an onsite Social Services Director providing counseling and referral services; and state-of-the-art rehabilitation equipment.
The Fountains is a Watermark Community, a senior care management firm, based in Tucson, Arizona and founded in 1985. Today, Watermark operates 52 communities in 21 states, including stand-alone independent living, assisted living, memory care, and Medicare-certified rehabilitation and skilled nursing units. Shannon Ruedlinger, Managing Director for Watermark, adds that the company currently has five more facilities under development that will be opening in 2019 and 2020. “There are several new communities popping up in California – one in Napa Valley, one in San Ramon, and one in Westwood, near the UCLA campus. So, California has been the big area of growth for us,” he remarks. “And we have a lot more projects on the horizon, overseas. We’re developing in China with a new partner who just came onboard a few months ago.”
Ruedlinger says that, ultimately, what differentiates the Fountains from other CCRCs is its extraordinary culture. “They have a lot of long-term employees, which we call Associates, and they have thriving resident committees within the community,” he states. “They’ve been owned by the same owner since 1998, so it’s very stable. And when you walk in, there’s a special feeling that you don’t get anywhere else. It’s a welcoming, warm environment, which the team works on, actively, so people feel like they’re at home when they come there.”
Executive Director, Ron Ellenich, agrees that the Fountains focuses on culture and innovation. “In preparing for future residents, we’re looking at what our culture was, what it is today, and where we need to go in order to meet their needs and remain competitive and attractive for the clients of tomorrow,” he explains. “We’ve been refocusing on what our goals and missions are and making it person-centered. We have a tagline about thriving; it’s where the Associates can thrive; it’s where the residents thrive. So, we’re enabling our Associates and our residents to find ways to thrive and providing them opportunities to do so. One of the things we’ve implemented this year is a program called Carlotta Cares. It’s a way for the Associates and the residents to give back to the surrounding community.”
Some recent Carlotta Cares programs have included a Rock and Roll-a-thon fundraising event in celebration of National Foster Care Month; a Valentine’s Day gift program that helped put together gift boxes for a local Meals on Wheels program; and a blanket and towel drive to benefit shelter animals in the Coachella Valley.
“Another thing that we’ve been focusing on, this year, is our SAGE Initiative to make sure we’re very inclusive for the Senior LGBT community,” says Molly Quigley, the Fountains’ Sales Director. SAGE, which stands for Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders, is part of the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults. “It was originally driven by Watermark and has been heavily embraced by our residents and Associates.”
“We’ve partnered with them nationally, and we already have 40 percent of our communities across the country in the process of being accredited by SAGE, which means they’ve gone through a certain amount of training and accomplished certain objectives to create a welcoming and inclusive experience for anybody who walks in the door – no matter if its LGBT community or anyone else,” Ruedlinger states. “We felt that this was an organization that we could partner with to provide very valuable training for us that was also very appropriate for the communities. We want our communities to be home for everybody.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: The Fountains at Carlotta
WHAT: A Continuing Care Retirement Community
WHERE: Palm Desert, California