Senior Living Options at the Forefront of Health Care

Ramon and Perla Hizon

Walking the wide, well-lit halls of the newest addition to the corner of France Ave. and the Crosstown highway, it’s easy to see why the team at the new Aurora on France facility is excited.  

The brand new building encompasses beauty and an innovative model for both senior housing and multiple healthcare services. Jonathan Lundberg, COO of Ebenezer, the senior housing arm of Fairview Health Services that manages Aurora, says, “Aurora was built to create continuity of care and service in the Edina market.”
This upscale property was developed to encompass the varied needs of an aging population, providing independent, assisted living and memory care, as well as options for post-operative patients who are looking for a state of the art rehabilitation facility with easy access to both Twin Cities Orthopedics (TCO) and Fairview Southdale Hospital.

It was developed by Luigi Bernardi of Aurora Investments, and is managed by Ebenezer. According to Lundberg, “many partnerships have made this model possible,” including Volunteers of America who were “thrilled about the opportunity to bring their insight to the aging community.”

“Being a forward-thinking model,” says Mark Thomas, president of Fairview Senior Services and CEO of Ebenezer, “means that what Aurora offers lower thresholds for residents and their families to receive care that is connected to a greater medical system.”  

There are 88 independent and assisted senior living apartments—studio, one and two bedroom—that offer easy access to shopping, entertainment and health services within a short distance. The Southdale Medical building can even be accessed from Aurora through a skyway system and an underground tunnel.
Aurora offers increasing services to seniors as needed, and in cooperation with doctors and nurses at Fairview Southdale Hospital, residents can walk through the different needs of the aging process.
 “There are also abundant activities available to residents, with offerings developed around their wants and needs,” says Barbara Mekenye, executive director at Aurora. She reiterates the mindset of the Aurora community, “This is your home, hence the flexibility with what we provide.”

The memory care wing has 39 units. These are “controlled-access, private memory care apartments [that] are specially designed for people living with memory loss.”

Housing options are going fast and it is easy to see why. On the first floor there is a movie theater with plush rocker chairs, a bistro, a communal dining room as well as two private dining areas, a community room with spacious areas for family gatherings or corporate meetings, a library, a lounge for happy hours and a beautiful terrace. The windows are tall and let in both sunlight and abundant views of bustling France Ave. or a quiet pond in back. The other floors mimic the wide-open feel of the first and have clean, muted tones that are both modern and comfortable. And, the team has planned for the future; “we have the capability of building more floors to accommodate need,” says Thomas.

Care Suites, a higher acuity service area for people who are recovering from surgery are also available. In partnership with Twin Cities Orthopedics (TCO) patients who have surgery can recover in a beautiful studio apartment with access to nursing staff and physicians who are available for follow-up as they recover.  

Thomas says, “Historically, post-operative patients have stayed in hospital care suites. Our concept takes recovering patients out of the old model and provides upscale services for the recovering patient in a beautiful environment.” Most stay between 24-72 hours as they recover.

Guest suites are also available for family members needing a place to stay while a loved one is recovering from surgery.

Finally, Aurora offers 63 Transitional Care Units (TCUs). “The TCUs at Aurora feature three 21 bed pods that specialize in Cardio, Orthopedics and Medical-Surgical. Aurora has nurse practitioners and physicians rounding seven days a week. Speech, occupational and physical therapists staff the therapy gym seven days a week as well. Finally, ceiling lifts are located throughout the therapy gym and in several of the units to help with rehabilitation.” The rooms are state of the art and in collaboration with Fairview Southdale (as well as plans to expand to partnerships with other hospitals), patients receive top-level care in a life-affirming environment. Thomas says of the partnership with doctors at Fairview Southdale, “this relationship is an expression of [Aurora’s] commitment to function as a post acute part of the system.”

What about cost?

According to Mekenye, “Our pricing is all-inclusive, unlike a nursing home. You pay one fee for all your care and it ends up being more cost effective than the a la carte options elsewhere. Our prices are quite competitive.”

With all these options and the foresight to bring dignified, respectful care and housing to Edina’s senior citizens, the Aurora team also wants to be a part of greater Edina. “We welcome volunteers and school groups. We are in partnership with local businesses to bring events to this location and we hope to be a vibrant part of this community,” says Cherie Camuel, the campus administrator.  

Aurora’s Grand Opening will take place this summer.

“We want to be a good pillar in this community,” says Lundberg.  

Check it out for yourself. Grab lunch in the café. Consider hosting an event in the beautiful dining areas or community rooms. See the future of high quality health care and senior living. Welcome, Aurora, to the neighborhood.