As seen in The White Plains Examiner…

By Andrew Vitelli

For some residents of The Kensington, an assisted living residence located on Maple Avenue in White Plains, the facility is a lot like a nice hotel. They can eat when they want, take part in activities or go on trips, or they can just hang out in their rooms watching T.V. For other residents, though, The Kensington’s staff provides a structure to their day-to-day life.

Kensington White Plains ribbon cutting“Wide age differences, wide care need differences,” explained Tiffany Tomasso; one of The Kensington’s founding partners. The Kensington held its official ribbon cutting ceremony last Tuesday, with county and city officials taking part. Already, though, about two dozen local residents call the Kensington home, as the facility opened its doors in the beginning of September.

“We’ve been very well-received in the marketplace,” Tomasso said. “Westchester County is a great market, in great need of a product like this.”

The Kensington has three basic kinds of care. Most of the residents – 53 out of 87 suites – are in the assisted living section of the residence. They have their own room and are free to travel around the facility as they wish, going to the several community rooms, working out in the fitness room, socializing with other residents from throughout the facility and eating meals whenever they’d like (more on that later).

“The food is excellent, the care is excellent and the employees are really responsive on all levels,” said one resident. “I came in prepared not to like it and I do.”

Care levels vary for assisted living residents. Some may be almost entirely independent while others might need help to perform everyday tasks such as getting dressed. Mentally, though, these residents are alert and oriented.

The Kensington also has two levels of care for people with memory loss, with one floor and 17 suites dedicated to each level. Residents in the early stages of memory loss will be on one floor and will spend most their time on their floor.

“They often are aware they’re going through this phase of memory loss. They’re highly anxious, so we keep them in a day that is very structured, very set routines and in a smaller environment that they can navigate,” Tomasso said. “It’ll help them have a purpose to their day. They’ll get to build relationships with the staff and with the other residents.”

These residents may go down to the main dining area when they’re accompanied by family but will generally eat with people in the same level of care.

Another floor is dedicated to people in later stages of memory loss, who may not be aware they have memory loss and need a higher level of care and security. This floor is secure 24 hours a day and residents generally don’t leave the floor.

“Inside, The Kensington has the appearance of a luxury hotel. The first thing guests see when they enter is a grand staircase – this was done not just for the look but also to dispel the myth that stairs were taboo in assisted living facilities,” Tomasso said.“There are several libraries and T.V. rooms, a billiard room and terraces throughout the complex.”

Tomasso said one of her goals in opening The Kensington was to make the dining experience different than it is at other assisted living facilities, where breakfast, lunch and dinner were at a set time. At The Kensington, the dining room is more like a restaurant. Residents can come down anytime between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. and between 5 and 8 p.m. and order off a menu.

For those in need of medical care, The Kensington has around-the-clock nursing and has also partnered with nearby White Plains Hospital for services.

“We have a number of residents here who, if not for this, would be at home with 24-hour help or would be at a nursing home,” said Tomasso.