Dan March wants top keep retirement communities active
Dan March is proud of the restaurant-style atmosphere provided to residents of Laurel View village. The Laurel View Village community also has a popular restaurant, Oakwood Restaurant. March said many Davidsville residents frequent Oakwood Restaurant. (Staff photo by Amber Rosado / March 8, 2013)
As CEO of Laurel View Village in Davidsville, he wants retirement homes to become a place where older citizens come to live and continue with daily activities. He said over the last 30 years, the retirement home have been seen as a place where older adults come to die.
"We may not be able to add years to their lives, but we can add life to their years," March said.
He has been a long-term health administrator for 13 years. Before working in Somerset County, March worked in administration positions at various senior homes in Kansas.
March became involved with senior citizens through his pastoral work of more than 17 years. He said his work with aging congregations led him to minor in genrontology at Kansas State University. He graduated from Kansas State in 2001 with a Masters of Science, Hotel, Restaurant, Institutional Management and Dietetics. He also has a Masters of Business Administration from Wichita State University.
During his work in Kansas, March learned the importance of oral health in senior citizens.
He explained that bad oral health can lead to various ailments in other parts of the body including the heart and lungs.
"If you can control oral health, you can control your overall health," March said.
This prompted him to start a mobile oral clinic that provided oral health check-ups to any senior citizen in the surrounding Wichita, Kan., area. March received $40,000 to $50,000 grants to complete this project.
"We didn't just provide the mobile clinic service to the residents in our facility, but we provided it to our competitors as well. It was just the right thing to do," March said.
He said it is his goal to make sure that all older adults are able to keep active and well. March wants all his residents to be as strong and healthy as possible.
"We're not trying to turn a 90-year-old man into Charles Atlas or Arnold Schwarzenegger, but we want them to keep the strength they have," March said.
He explained that even a small fall could lead to a severe injury in a older adult.
At Laurel View Village, March's highest priority is to provide older adults with the independence to make choices throughout their day.
March wants to instill a sense of community within the retirement group. He had traveled to the Netherlands and Norway to study international models of elderly care communities.
"In Rotterdam, Netherlands, the center was much more open to the community. There were more children and there was even a bar in the center. I had a Heineken with the CEO of the center at the bar," March said.
He said that he wants to provide a living environment that is homelike and not clinical or sterile.
Laurel View Village offers three kinds of living options for seniors: independent living, personal care and a nursing home. The first level is a town house where the senior would be living independently and continuing daily activities. The personal care apartment offers a wide variety of assistance options for the senior to accomplish daily activities.
The nursing home offers the highest level of personal care.
There are about 330 residents and 230 staff members.