Specialized SNF Rolls Out Red Carpet for Retired Actors, Writers
One niche senior living community is rolling out the red carpet for older adults from the performing arts and entertainment industries, debuting its new assisted living and skilled nursing facility (SNF).
Located in Englewood, N.J., The Actors Fund Home—also known as The Lillian Booth Actors Home—recently opened the doors to its Shubert Pavilion by celebrating a ribbon-cutting ceremony October 6. The new wing brings an additional 25 subacute beds and 14 assisted-living beds, in addition to a new rehabilitation center, to the existing 124-bed facility.
Currently, entertainers like vaudevillians, Ziegfeld Follies dancers and comedians call the community home. But despite its name, the Actors Home welcomes residents from all corners of show business, administrator Jordan Strohl told Skilled Nursing News.
“The Actors Fund has a tremendously long history of taking care of people in the entertainment industry,” he said. “It’s all walks of life in entertainment—it can be someone from an actual actor and performer, to the behind-the-scenes [people like a] stagehand, lighting technician, or wardrobe attendant.”
A place to call home
The opening of the three-story Shubert Pavilion marks the mid-point of a capital campaign, called The Home Campaign, to rebuild, expand and preserve the Actors Home, which was established in 1902 for retired entertainers.
By the end of 2018, the campaign aims to add 25,000 square feet of new space and renovate the existing 30,000 square feet of resident space. In addition, the group plans to construct a new two-story building that will house a 20-bed memory care unit, as well as a new medical suite, arts studio, dining room, bistro and memory care garden.
The Shubert Pavilion was made possible by a lead gift from The Shubert Organization, a theatrical production organization and a major owner of theaters in New York City, with additional support from the Walt Disney Company and The Mackintosh Foundation.
Currently, the community as a whole, runs at 98% occupancy, according to Strohl.
To be eligible for admission, the resident must prove his or her professional eligibility: Applicants must have worked in the entertainment industry for a minimum of 20 years, with annual earnings of at least $2,000 for 10 out of the 20 years, according to the Actors Home’s website.
However, for the first time in the Actors Home’s history, the community will be accommodating residents from the general population, Strohl said.
“Because we built subacute beds, we will be relying on referrals from the community for the first time in the history of the home,” Strohl said. “When we don’t have the [subacute] beds filled with people in the entertainment industry, we’re going to be relying on local hospitals to keep the beds and the demand there.”
‘Taking care of your own’
The community lives on the mantra of “taking care of your own,” as it welcomes retired entertainers regardless of their ability to pay — with costs subsidized by the home’s non-profit parent company The Actors Fund of America, according to Strohl.
“[People] think it’s a lot of glamour, they think it’s a lot of money, but unfortunately, that’s not the majority of our population,” Strohl said. “That’s not the people that come into our facility. A lot of our residents that come in, they’re either Medicaid or Medicaid-pending.”
In fact, Medicaid residents account for about 68% of the total census, with the remainder consisting of Medicare recipients and private-pay residents.
The home is focused on providing patient-centered care, according to Strohl. In addition to providing Alzheimer’s and dementia care based on the program established by Phoenix-based dementia care education and research group Comfort Matters, the community stays cognizant of its residents’ special needs.
For instance, the home prides itself on providing care to LGBT residents, with some same-sex couples calling the community home, according to Strohl.
“The biggest way we handle their unique needs is they’re all individuals. Just like any of our residents, they all have specific needs and wants,” he said.
This is especially true for the community’s LGBT residents who may be living with special health needs, such as HIV/AIDS.
“For us, that’s just all part of what we do and who we are,” Strohl said. “It’s [about] proper in-service training of our staff. At the end of the day, someone who is HIV-positive should have the same quality of life.”
As the Actors Home embarks on its expansion projects, this mission- and person-centered mentality drives its care delivery, according to Strohl.
“Our residents themselves are very unique. They have unique qualities, they have unique characteristics, they’re charismatic because of being on stage—we really cater to that,” Strohl said. “We allow our residents to be their own individual. We allow the resident to come to the facility and embrace who they are.”
Written by Carlo Calma
- ShubertPavilion 02: © (2017) Don Pearse Photographers, Inc. / The Actors Fund Home