Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Response to Guest Column

The guest column printed in the December 4, 2018 issue of the Marco Eagle and written by Terri Sommerfield is unfortunately for the seniors of Marco, biased against Assisted Living facilities and senior care which is needed by the citizens of Marco Island. Much of the information presented in the column is taken out of context and misrepresents the proposed Watermark at Marco Island.

First, as the developers have described the project, it is a fully licensed assisted living facility offering a full continuum of care, however without a Skilled Nursing component. Anyone participating in senior care today recognizes that the fast growing trend for “micro-CCRCs” as they are sometimes called. A full CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) most often has over 100 to several hundred beds and offers Memory Care (MC), Assisted Living (AL), Independent Living (IL), and Skilled Nursing (SNF). Most CCRCs have a very large entry fee ranging from $250k to some over $1,000,000. In order to provide the services needed for those who can’t afford it or chose not to invest this kind of fee, a “Continuum Care Limited” or “Micro CCRC” is the future of continuing care for seniors.

The majority of seniors today will not need a Skilled Nursing Facility in their future. A SNF component is very expensive and drives costs up for the entire CCRC. Currently, many providers are turning to the Continuum of Care, minus the skilled component. Today the level of care in an ALF can provide the needs that will provide the majority of senior’s lives to its natural end, avoiding time spent in a Skilled Nursing setting.

Watermark Retirement Communities is one of the most well respected and innovative companies in Senior Care Industry today and serves over 10,000 residents in the US. Watermark, like many others today are licensing their entire facilities as Assisted Living. They can then offer full services and assistance of daily living as well as care for memory related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Most importantly, Watermark creates an extraordinary lifestyle and is committed to helping residents and associates thrive. This provides great value to all of Marco Island.

Offering a community that is appealing and of value to residents of Marco Island and will have the added benefit of appealing to individuals who are moving for an improved lifestyle, not to address a time-sensitive health crisis. A more independent resident can transition into the facility on their own terms and timeframe, avoiding the necessity move in at last minute when an urgent need arises.  It gives the elderly, who are still independent, time to sell their home and plan for a move. It gives them the important opportunity to live full, vibrant, independent lives, with easy access to  services such as meals, health and rehabilitation services, transportation and social services, which are so important and greatly needed for single seniors. It also offers a “strong spouse-weak spouse” solution to having to put your husband or wife in a facility alone. Here, couples can live together and the “weak spouse” can receive the services they need, while residing together.

The proposed Watermark at Marco Island is not just an ALF in size when compared to ALF’s numbers cited in the Marco Eagle article. The numbers presented in the article are biased or incorrect. In addition, when most professionals in the industry today discuss Assisted Living or ALF’s, Memory Care is most often included in that count, in the article it was not. Attached is a list of Communities in the Marco and Naples area, many listed in the marketing report obtained by the developer. It shows the full IL/AL/MC combination communities that are more in comparison with the Watermark at Marco. Note that the Skilled Nursing units are not listed in this chart.

The Watermark at Marco is by no means, a “Mega Facility” in fact at 166 units it is smaller than most in Florida that contain continuum of care offerings.

As for evacuation issues during a hurricane, The Watermark at Marco will be a benefit for the speed and efficiency of evacuation of residents. Those in the Senior Care industry in Florida today knows that in order to maintain their license annually, every Florida Assisted Living Facility must submit and have an approved Emergency Management Plan. That plan is based on State AHCA guidelines and is approved by the local Fire Marshal and by the County Emergency Management Department, prior to occupation of the facility and it is renewed each year. The evacuation procedures in that plan provides for Contracts with a transportation company, Contracts with multiple facilities to take and keep the residents until they are able to return to Marco as well as Contracts in place for food and supplies during the time they are evacuated. There is no “unknown” here. There is an approved plan to professionally and quickly evacuate this community from Marco before most residents are thinking about evacuating. This will take place in 5 or 6 buses with a professionally trained staff. Currently elderly residents are in their home and trying to rely on an aged spouse, or family members coming on island, or even trying to drive themselves off, the structured evacuation plan is so much better, quicker and safer. Operating four facilities in Florida and thirty years of hurricane experience, Watermark has experience in successfully weathering storms and evacuating residents to nearby accommodations and Watermark sister communities. Watermark has a history of staffing well above state requirements and this practice is of benefit all year but especially during the event of hurricanes.

Marco Island seniors deserve the right for a care facility to provide for their needs through their later years in a modern, quality community located in Marco. Islanders should not have to separate or ship their spouse off-island when care is needed!

The Watermark at Marco Island is an innovative option for the continuum of care for the residents of Marco Island. I hope your readers will take the time to learn more and decide what’s best for them, their families and the greater Marco Island community.


Peggy Beasley

Executive Director, The Fountains at Lake Pointe Woods

Four years Deficiency Free Assisted Living

Certified Dementia Practitioner

17 years’ experience in Florida and senior housing

Senior Care Properties near Marco Island

Memory care, Assist Living, and Independent Living

Name Address Stories MC Units AL Units IL Units Total Units
The Arlington- (IL,AL,MC) 7900 Arlington circle Naples 34113 5 37 82 294 298
Beach House AL,MC 1000 Airport Rd. S. 2 32 81 123
Discovery Village at Naples & Expansion IL,AL,MC 8417 Sierra Meadows Blvd. Naples, FL. 34113 2/3 30 60 30+176 apt./24 Condos 320
Moorings Park at Grey Oaks IL,AL,MC 2406 Grey Oaks DR. N 5 24 14 109 147
Moorings Park Satellite Campus IL (Planning)Off Golden Gate Parkway 7 275 275
Terracina Grand AL,MC 6825 Davis Blvd. Naples Fl. 34104 4 72 155 227
All Season Naples 15451 Tamiami Trail N 4 40 49 100



Tuscany Villas of Naples AL 8901 Tamiami Trail E. 3 150



Manor Care at Lely Palms AL 1000 Lely Palms Dr. Naples, FL Single 16 12 204 232
Barrington Terrace of Naples AL,MC 5175 Tamiami Tr. E. Single 22 135 157
Bridges at Gordon River AL,MC (In Planning) East of Goodlette-Frank rd. west of Gordon river 88 350 438

Watermark Florida Facilities

Name Address Stories MC Units AL Units IL Units Total Units
The Fountain at Lake Pointe Woods 3260 Lake Pointe Blvd. Sarasota 3 86 195 281
The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay 1255 Pasadena Ave. S, St. Pete 20 38 145 333 516
The Watermark at Trinity 1960 Blue Fox Way, Trinity 3 34 83 119 236
The Watermark at Vistawilla 1519 E. State Road 434, Winter Springs 3 21 66 87

BRW Owned Additional Florida Facility

Name Address Stories MC Units AL Units IL Units Total Units
Arbor Terrace at Citrus Park MC,IL,AL 13810 Sheldon Road, Tampa, FL 33626 4 24 68 139 231


2 responses to “Response to Guest Column”

  1. Janet says:

    The facility is NOT just for Marco residents

  2. Ann Sepe/Alfred Marchand says:

    How many ALF’s listed required creation of a PUD or an amendment to existing land develop codes in the area they were constructed as is currently being sought by the developers on Marco Island?

    The Planning Board’s vote clearly revealed those that were woefully short sighted given the existing codes and the character of this small island.

    The list provided by the author is quite extensive, but I suspect her perspective is that of an executive director NOT a resident within 300′ of the development. Interestingly, she did not site the changes in land development code that would be required to grant such a development.

    Folks, if you liked the Marriott expansion with the wall and loading dock that required amending an existing PUD than this over-sized ALF is the tall order you requested for a new PUD. These are simply examples of the continual erosion of the small town character promoted from those who are not residents or simply those that believe height and wholesale creation of spot zoning is the wave of future development on Marco Island.

    Pay attention, the Planning Board vote clearly indicates who is represented. I thought the last election which included the re-election of Victor Rios and election of Sam Young was an endorsement of protecting the small town character. I may have been misled given Mr. Breschnitz initial vote as chairman of the Planning Board now City Council chairman. Was I duped? campaign rhetoric.

    Been watching for 18 years!

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