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The outside of Brio, one of the senior living facilities run by WesleyLife, in Johnston, Iowa. WesleyLife and Genesis are collaborating on The Summit of Bettendorf, set to open in February 2021.

It's a new beginning for senior living in the Quad-Cities, and the massive new senior living campus in Bettendorf is just the start of it.

Set to open in February 2021, The Summit of Bettendorf is the first result of Wellspire, a collaboration between local hospital system Genesis Health and Johnston, Iowa-based WesleyLife. The collaboration was announced in January with the campus announced in June. The collaboration also includes changes to be made to Genesis properties of Illini Restoratvie Care and Crosstown Square apartments in Silvis and Westwing Place in DeWitt, Iowa.

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Brio resident Sheila Hartung works out while WesleyLife employee Edward Fox provides support.

But what is WesleyLife, and why was it interested in coming to the Quad-Cities? To hear CEO Rob Kretzinger tell it, it was impressed with Genesis and saw a need for senior living in the Quad-Cities.

"We wanted to partner with an acute care system to better meet the needs of the Medicare population," Kretzinger said Wednesday. 

While Kretzinger said WesleyLife had been interested in expanding in another part of the Midwest, it decided to make Genesis and the Quad-Cities area a priority. 

Among the priorities for WesleyLife is the idea of helping every part of the community, Kretzinger said.

"We serve about 10,000 older adults across the state, 80 percent of those folks we serve in their homes," he said. While the company is looking into developing another campus, a priority is also ensuring that it serves the entire community.

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One of the common spaces at WesleyLife's Edgewater, including a full-service bar. A bar is one of the features set for WesleyLife and Genesis Health System's collaboration, The Summit of Bettendorf.

Food and nutrition are also important to WesleyLife.

"We really want to evaluate how those people in that 65-plus age group are accessing good, clean healthy food. It’s sometimes food scarcity," Kretzinger said. He noted that Meals on Wheels has had funding cuts and called nutrition a priority of WesleyLife. "Obviously I’m passionate about that. I just think that that’s something we’re going to look at in the Quad-Cities."

Another emphasis for WesleyLife is its focus on making sure members of its community are also members of the community at large. Kretzinger said one of their goals is to have generations mix together; one of the restaurants at The Summit of Bettendorf will be open to the community at large.

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Landscape features are part of WesleyLife's facility, Edgewater, in West Des Moines, Iowa. The Summit of Bettendorf, a collaboration between WesleyLife and Genesis Health System, is expected to open in February 2021.

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That emphasis on food and wellness is one of the things Genesis Home Outpatient and Senior Services Executive Director Glen Roebuck highlighted as a change that's been made at the properties in Silvis and DeWitt.

"Running an acute care health system is different than running a community, and they bring a different focus to that, more of a restaurant style than historically what we've done," he said. "So we look forward to those sorts of changes."

Roebuck also said they were impressed with WesleyLife's focus on wellness. Historically, Genesis has had communities that were dedicated to serving people with multiple or significant chronic medical concerns that require more medical care. "We look forward to that wellness component as well." 

For Genesis, Roebuck said WesleyLife wanted to be able to provide residential service and opportunities for older adults before they experienced significant health issues.

"What we wanted to do is create an environment for wellness and continued living and engagement in the community," he said. "When we looked to potential partners, three or four people came to the surface, and truly WesleyLife has proved to be a step above, and their focus and investments on wellness and people continuing to be actively engaged is just radically different. ... We're very excited about that." 

The Summit of Bettendorf is set to have over 100 independent living apartments, 16 assisted-living and 16 assisted-living memory support units, 20 short-term rehabilitation suites and 20 health care suites.

"There will never be a situation where someone has to move out because they need a higher level of care; they will always have that opportunity on our campus," Roebuck said.

Only Ridgecrest Village in Davenport and Friendship Manor in Rock Island have all three levels of care, and Roebuck says part of the advantage to The Summit is its focus on wellness, as well as its 21st century construction and expectations.

Both Brio in Johnston and Edgewater in West Des Moines are large communities with clear themes to their architecture and environment. Brio has a farm style, including a conference room in a silo with a table handcrafted by the Amish. Edgewater has more of a rustic style, including a large working fireplace outside on the fifth-floor deck and multiple walking trails.

Residents say they enjoy their time at both Brio and Edgewater.

"They offer just about anything you're looking for," Dora Brubaker, a Brio resident and former Bettendorf resident said of the facility.

"I think it's going to be a good deal for Bettendorf and the Quad-Cities," Bill Brubaker said.

"It's very nice, very friendly," Edgewater resident Dave Freiermuth said.

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