Even the pandemic can’t stop a great idea: Breaking ground on The Baldwin

LONDONDERRY, N.H. | October 8, 2021 — When Edgewood Senior Solutions Group of Massachusetts recently held its ceremonial groundbreaking for The Baldwin in Londonderry, New Hampshire, they moved only a few small shovels of dirt — but they took a giant leap forward for senior living in a state devoted to living free.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic — and perhaps even because of them — presales for the all-new Life Plan Community (also known as a continuing care retirement community or CCRC) have been brisk. Enough apartment homes are now reserved to move forward with construction and plans to open in summer 2023. Marlene Rotering, CEO of The Baldwin and its sister community, Edgewood Retirement Community in North Andover, Massachusetts, offers some possible reasons why. “What we’ve seen in the senior living industry over the past 18 months is that a well-managed senior living community has been a great place to live during the pandemic. At Edgewood, we provided services that helped residents remain safe, secure, healthy, and even connected during the toughest part when our country was asked to quarantine. I think people who were living in their homes have looked at their own experiences and realized their lives would have been easier had they been living in a community like Edgewood or The Baldwin.”

Another thought on people’s minds is what could happen in the future. With a number of impressive awards already under its belt, The Baldwin’s forward-thinking design will contribute to the community’s ability to keep residents safe and healthy in the event of any future public health concerns. According to its lead architect, Philippe Saad of Boston-based DiMella Shaffer, the community has been designed with infection control in mind. “Because [The Baldwin] was designed for independence, we were really ahead of Covid. The buildings are divided into smaller segments with their own elevators, entryways, and activity spaces on every floor. The buildings could be further divided into smaller segments so a smaller number of people could be ‘quarantined’ together but still have access to an outdoor entrance. The residential units also have direct ventilation so there’s no ‘borrowed air’ from any other apartment or part of the building and no contamination between units.”

When it comes to The Baldwin, though, flexibility and innovation didn’t stop with design. The community is doing many things differently. Rotering points out that The Baldwin offers residents important choices. “We have contract options that include Life Care and fee-for-service. The ability to choose the contract that best fits their plans and goals is something that’s pretty unusual in the New Hampshire senior living market,” she says.

While The Baldwin will have a full continuum of healthcare services available to residents if needed, what they won’t have is a traditional nursing home. According to Rotering, “With the modern focus on staying active and healthy, most senior adults will never need the type of long-term care that requires a stereotypical, clinical nursing home. Plus, most people dread the idea of ever moving to one anyway. So, what we’ve done with The Baldwin is come up with innovative, flexible ways to provide the care a resident may need without ever requiring them to move through a predetermined system of healthcare levels. Residents will have access to a medical clinic for acute needs, priority access to personal care and home health services, small-home model assisted living and memory support, short-term rehabilitation and more.”

Rotering adds that the concept behind The Baldwin isn’t just to create a community for senior adults. “We know that interacting with people of all ages helps us stay active, engaged and happier. We don’t believe seniors should be sequestered in a community where they’re only interacting with people their own age. Our location in the Woodmont Commons mixed-use development — as well as the shared amenity spaces we’re building into our own buildings — will add an intergenerational dimension and daily interaction not found in any other senior living community in New Hampshire. In fact, it’s fairly unique in the nation.”

Despite the enormity of this project and the important influence it will have on senior living in New Hampshire, The Baldwin’s ceremonial groundbreaking was decidedly low-key. “We originally had a big celebration planned,” says Maria Byrne, director of sales for The Baldwin. “However, with the recent Covid numbers and concerns about the Delta variant, we felt it would be safest for everyone to have a smaller ceremony and broadcast it online so everyone could watch and feel part of this major event. Video of the event also will be posted on our website.”

The groundbreaking was kicked off by Tim Vaill, chairman of the Edgewood board of directors, who noted Edgewood’s solid 20+ year history and the importance of The Baldwin as a “significant leap forward” in New Hampshire senior living. He then introduced Mike Hawkins, a 14-year Edgewood board member and the Board liaison for The Baldwin project management team. Hawkins added, “All that we have learned [at Edgewood] about senior living, enhancing the lives of residents, and reaching outstanding standards of quality and compassion are being carried over to The Baldwin.”

In her speech, Rotering said, “Over the years, our Edgewood community has developed a very special culture of serving seniors in such a meaningful and compassionate way that no other competitive community has been able to replicate. We maintain a relentless pursuit of serving residents as they desire and deserve. We knew that, someday, because of Edgewood’s unique culture, we would create a sister community so more seniors could live their best and most fulfilling lives with freedom and choice.”

When complete, The Baldwin will offer 190 independent-living apartments for adults age 62 and up, on-site healthcare, and a full complement of services and amenities. Plans for the site include a state-of-the-art fitness center, indoor pool, and hot tub; multiple dining venues; an art studio and gallery; a woodworking shop; a library and classrooms; and underground parking. Several of the community’s amenities, including a spa and salon, a convenience store and the dining venues, will be open to the public.

The Baldwin holds a regular series of informational events as well as seminars covering topics such as contract options and how the community’s flexible system of healthcare delivery will work. Both in-person and online options are available. To learn more or to find an event that fits your schedule, visit the events page on the website.

The Baldwin is closely monitoring the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Read our statement and updated visitor guidelines here

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