Cover Story

Home Sweet Home: McKnight Place Assisted Living

McKnight Place co-owners Charlie Deutsch and Robert Leonard

The golden years can be just as fulfilling as the rest of your life. Aging doesn’t mean you have to leave behind your interests or activities that keep life fun and engaging. Senior living communities should anticipate their residents’ needs while still respecting this independence and individuality. At McKnight Place Assisted Living, every element has been researched and designed to provide quality care and create a unique and welcoming experience for each resident.

Last fall, McKnight Place cut the ribbon on a $32 million expansion, adding 90 upscale luxury apartment homes and several elegant common areas. To address the needs of residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, 27 newly renovated memory care units will open in June. “It’s been an amazing year,” co-owner Robert Leonard says. “Everyone loves the new building. The apartment homes are spacious and very elegant. Our residents are enjoying a full schedule of activities, and the chef is having a great time with the new kitchen.”

The expansion was created to be both luxurious and accessible, a combination that can be difficult to achieve, according to co-owner Charles Deutsch. “It was a challenge, but it also was a lot of fun,” he says of designing the new community. “We provide support for people who may not be as agile or independent as they once were. We don’t want them to lose their dignity just because they are aging.” He explains that while the building had to be functional, McKnight Place wanted to avoid an institutional atmosphere. “It can be difficult to take a structure and make it a warm, residential environment,” he notes. To tackle this issue, McKnight Place worked with The Lawrence Group and Gateco Development.

The results speak for themselves, according to Deutsch and Leonard. “The environment really invigorates the soul and provides lots of light and elegance,” Deutsch says. “From the resident halls to the common areas, it’s all tastefully appointed with a blend of elegance, charm and function.” The common areas include activity spaces, TV lounges, a greenhouse, theater, beauty shop and two distinct dining options. The main dining room, which features a two-story ceiling, embroidered draperies and plenty of beautiful artwork, is across the hall from a European-style cafe complete with a copper ceiling and bar. “They have completely different atmospheres, and our residents are empowered by their ability to make a choice about where they eat dinner,” Deutsch notes. “It supports a sense of excitement and creates a more personal experience.”

The new spaces make it easy for residents to engage with each other. “The whole concept is experientially oriented,” Deutsch says. “One of the best times to visit is during happy hour. Everyone is laughing and talking. It reminds me of when you’re 21 and visit a pub for the first time. It’s a very powerful social experience.” Leonard adds that residents have been enjoying a full schedule of activities and even are planning their own. “They are so proud of the new building that they are hosting family parties and other gatherings like bridge clubs and luncheons with friends,” he notes. The arrival of spring weather also has motivated more people to enjoy McKnight Place’s beautiful outdoor spaces. “The residents are taking full advantage of the nice weather, gardens and walking paths,” Leonard says.

The apartment homes also were designed to make the transition of moving to the community easy for residents. The amenities and luxury finishes found in each are similar to what people would have in their own homes, including 10 foot ceilings, oversized windows and custom cabinetry. The spacious units allow for cherished heirloom furniture, art and other items to make the move with each resident. “There’s plenty of elegance and space for residents to make themselves feel at home,” Deutsch says. Being able to assist and meet new members of the community has been Leonard’s favorite part of the expansion. “I love listening to their stories and getting to know their families,” he says. “It is really a wonderful and caring atmosphere.”

To celebrate the expansion, McKnight Place is throwing a grand opening from 1 to 4 p.m June 3. Guests can tour the apartments, sample food and experience the welcoming atmosphere. “People will feel really satisfied and secure whether they’re helping a loved one transition or moving in themselves,” Deutsch says. “Leaving the grand opening, they’ll recognize that McKnight Place Assisted Living is the right choice.”

Pictured above: Executive director Tracy Cecil and a resident share stories in one of the elegant common spaces.
Photo: Rob Westrich Photography

The new McKnight Place Assisted Living & Memory Care Expansion offers luxury amenities and opportunities for active seniors with the same trusted care residents have expected from the Gatesworth Senior Living Community for the past 30 years. The expansion’s grand opening celebration is from 1 to 4 p.m. on June 3. Pictured on the cover: Shiloh Davis, resident Josie Clark, co-owner Charles Deutsch. For more information, call 314.993.3333 or visit mcknightplace.com.

Cover courtesy of McKnight Place
Cover photo by Rob Westrich Photography

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