Cover Story

Resident Focus: McKnight Assisted Living

When McKnight Place Assisted Living cut the ribbon on its newest building last fall, it opened up a world of opportunity for its seniors. Not only does the $32 million expansion offer 90 upscale apartment homes in a 102,000 square-foot building, but its many gracious common areas and robust schedule of activities create a vital sense of community for residents in their later years. Whether it’s a trip to the zoo, a happy hour with a jazz quartet, a game of cards or a movie night, McKnight Place Assisted Living offers residents fun and stimulating activities to help them stay mentally, physically and socially active.

“The new expansion has lots of great resources to help people thrive and enjoy life,” says Samantha Hinson, McKnight Place music therapist. There is a large gym for wellness and fitness classes, card rooms, an art room, billiard room, full-service beauty salon, and a 45-seat movie theater that allows for activities with many different levels of sensory stimulation and engagement, she says.

Hinson has worked at McKnight Place, a part of The Gatesworth communities, since last year and speaks to the beneficial effect music can have on seniors. She says research suggests music can be a powerful tool to increase physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. According to Hinson, studies have shown music to be one of the few stimuli to trigger activity throughout the brain rather than in an isolated area, which may be beneficial in maintaining brain health.

Some of Hinson’s sessions take the form of discussion groups in which participants talk about composers, famous musicians and other music-related topics, and active music-making groups give residents the opportunity to play instruments and sing familiar songs. “The goal is to find a way to interact, whether by creating sounds, singing along, moving to the beat or listening for enjoyment,” Hinson says.

No matter the structure or subject of the group, residents are given the opportunity to reminisce about their past experiences, discuss music and learn new things. “All activities are structured to help participants achieve and maintain a positive overall quality of life,” Hinson says. “It can be very comforting.” She adds that she tailors groups based on individuals’ recommendations and preferences, tapping into what is meaningful. “One of the most inspiring experiences I’ve had at McKnight Place was seeing a resident who otherwise would not participate in a group activity attend a music group to learn about a topic and sing songs that reminded her of her past,” she says. “Some residents like to keep to themselves, but it’s really heartening when a group encourages a less social resident to come out and be with others. It can have such a wonderful effect on a person’s mood and well-being.”

Norma Scallet is one resident who says she greatly enjoys the music program. “It’s such a nice way to get involved,” she says. “I used to dance when I was younger, so music is very important for me.”

The newly opened McKnight Place Assisted Living expansion offers luxury accomodations for active seniors in the Gatesworth community. It features 90 upscale apartments, a full schedule of daily activities, fine dining with an award-winning chef, and caring, attentive staff. Pictured on the cover: Music therapist Samantha Hinson with resident Norma Scallet. For more information, call 314.993.3333 or visit

Cover design courtesy of McKnight Place Assisted Living
Cover photo by Westrich Photography

Pictured above: Residents take part in a number of activities with family and friends.