Build Me Up: Inclusive Living at Bethesda Cornerstone Village
Bethesda Lutheran Communities, a non-profit that supports people with developmental disabilities across the U.S., recently opened Cornerstone Village. This first-of-its-kind living community combines active seniors and independent adults with disabilities, creating an inclusive, integrated environment that has not been modeled in the U.S. Accessibility is a priority at Cornerstone Village, and smart home technology in every unit allows residents to do everything from locking the doors, adjusting the thermostat, and switching the lights, all completely hands-free.
On the latest episode of the Build Me Up podcast, Bethesda’s Vice President of Real Estate Tom Campbell and KA Project Manager Aaron Zabel discuss the innovative model at Cornerstone Village.
Inside Bethesda Cornerstone Village
Built by Kraus-Anderson, the 83,334-square-foot campus is comprised of a 3-story, 37-unit apartment facility, and 15 villa homes. The villas have attached one- or two-car garages and the apartment home building features a 37-stall underground parking garage. All units feature granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, in-unit laundry, soundproofing, and patios or balconies. 25 percent of the units are reserved for individuals with disabilities who want to live independently.
When designing this living concept, they noticed similar concerns between 55+ adults and caretakers for individuals with developmental disabilities: safety, security, and independence. The smart home technology was key in the design and development of Bethesda Cornerstone Village. Residents can control nearly every feature from an iPad, whether it be locking the doors, controlling the thermostat, or dispensing medication. Parents, guardians, and caretakers can access this information from anywhere, giving them peace of mind that their loved ones are in a safe and comfortable living environment. All the rooms have universal design concepts, such as low-threshold showers, bathroom grab bars, larger units for wheelchairs and large pocket door handles for those with dexterity issues.
Building a Community
Bethesda Lutheran Communities saw a need for more community-based living options for seniors and individuals with developmental disabilities. While there are group homes sprinkled throughout neighborhoods, they seldom interact with the community around them. That was the dilemma that sparked the idea for Cornerstone Village. Common spaces and regular programming for residents, such as cooking classes and yoga classes, is a high priority for the campus. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is putting some of those plans on hold for now, it is their hope that they will be able to create events in the future that will blend Cornerstone Village residents with the rest of their neighbors in Victoria.
Cornerstone Village opened this Fall, and Bethesda is planning on expanding the concept through the Twin Cities, with hopes of modeling it across the country. To learn more about Bethesda Cornerstone Village and its innovative living model, tune in to the latest episode of the Build Me Up podcast. You can subscribe to Build Me Up wherever you listen to podcasts.