River Highlands of Birmingham offers senior living in renovated facility

A new senior living community in Hoover has been bustling with activity since it opened in May 2016.

As part of the Omega Communities family, River Highlands of Birmingham offers assisted living, memory care and respite care options to senior adults.

“We’re scheduling move-ins like crazy now,” River Highlands Director of Marketing Merilyn Scivley said. “It’s been filling up very quickly. I think we’re definitely seeing the need for assisted living and memory care in Birmingham.”

River Highlands is a fully renovated facility operating in the former location of a different senior living community off Data Drive in Hoover.

“Unfortunately, over time, it became understaffed, and wasn’t thriving any longer,” Scivley said.

Omega Communities saw potential in the facility, and purchased the property in November 2015. Renovations started in early 2016.

About five months later, River Highlands welcomed its first wave of new residents, after having retained more than a dozen residents from the previous community.

Omega Communities invested about $15 million into the River Highlands property, hired Greenbrier to oversee operations at the facility and hired new staff members.

About 50 people in administrative and resident care positions comprise the River Highlands staff.

“We have fantastic caregivers,” Scivley said. “We have a very loving group of people on our care staff. It’s a calling first and a job second.”

Assisted living apartments at River Highlands are available in three different floor plans – Magnolia, Poplar and Sycamore.

The Magnolia studio measures about 350 square feet and features a kitchenette, bedroom, walk-in closet and bathroom.

The Poplar studio measures about 450 square feet and features a kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom and closet.

The Sycamore apartment measures nearly 675 square feet and includes a bedroom, bathroom, walk-in closet, living room and kitchenette.

Memory care apartments include the Cedar, Cypress and Pine floor plans.

The Cedar suite measures about 250 square feet and includes a bedroom, bathroom and wardrobe.

The Cypress suite measures about 300 square feet and includes a bedroom, bathroom and wardrobe.

The Pine suite measures about 350 square feet and features a bedroom, bathroom and two closets.

“There are a lot of options,” Scivley said. “The apartments are beautiful. We do still have some apartments available in assisted living and memory care.”

Scivley said River Highlands provides a “wide spectrum of assistance” to residents, including individually tailored service plans; three meals daily prepared under a registered dietitian’s supervision; healthy snacks and refreshments available 24 hours a day; weekly housekeeping; daily trash removal; personal laundry and linen service; daily bed making; access to trained staff 24 hours a day; assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming, as needed; medication reminders and assistance; paid utilities, except telephone and Internet; scheduled transportation to events, appointments and outings; planned cultural, social, educational, spiritual, recreational and life-enrichment activities and wellness programming.

River Highlands even has a walking club.

Assisted living is designed for people wanting to retain their independence while receiving occasional help with daily activities.

“We have a very independent approach to assisted living,” Scivley said. “Our goal is to keep people active, and we focus on mind, body and spirit every day. We encourage physical activity, engaging with each other and staying sharp.”

Memory care is designed for people who are experiencing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive impairments.

Short-term respite care (a minimum of 14 days) involves services for people needing temporary assistance while their loved ones are away or following an injury or illness.

Features River Highlands residents can enjoy are neighborhood living rooms and lounge areas; a library and computer center; multipurpose room; variety of dining venues, including the Hoover Dining Room, Courtyard Bistro and Omega Private Dining Room; outdoor courtyard and gardens; fitness center; theater; billiards room; card and game room; beauty salon and barber shop; washers and dryers available for personal use; and more.

In addition, residents have access to It’s Never 2 Late, or iN2L, which is “a state-of-the-art, technology-based network system which combines touch screen computers with intuitive, picture-based software and an extensive, continuously-updated content library.”

Residents can take a virtual bike ride through the Redwood Forest, visit Paris in one sitting, test their knowledge of trivia and connect with family and friends.

River Highlands held a grand reveal party in December, and opened the memory care apartments in January.

Residents at River Highlands range in age from about 65 years old to 90 and above.

River Highlands offers consulting through Aging Options of Georgia to help people obtain veterans benefits.

For more information, contact Merilyn Scivley at (205) 982-7000 or email her at mscivley@riverhighlands.com.