While its concept began 23 years ago in Southeastern Texas, Restoration Senior Living could soon become the new standard for senior communities in South Carolina.
Having opened two Upstate facilities in the past two years, RSL’s original site near Westgate Mall in Spartanburg not only showcases senior living at its best but marks yet another expansion of a business that is catching on fast.
“We opened our Spartanburg location in June 2021, licensed to house 100 residents, and have been at full capacity almost the entire time,” said Rita Lark, executive director with RSL Westgate. “There’s hardly a day that we don’t have someone asking about becoming a resident.”
While RSL’s offerings include assisted living and memory care, Lark pointed out that its seniors are encouraged by staff, family members and community supporters to engage as much as possible in everyday living.
“Community involvement is a major component of RSL living,” she said. “We host a veterans breakfast twice a month, an appreciation breakfast for our first responders, luncheons for local pastors, multiple fundraisers for local charities and more.”
Local individuals and groups also visit regularly for reading, talking, entertaining, painting, dancing and seeing who can win a fast game of checkers.
“Everyone involved, from our 30 caregivers to our variety of visitors, are all about giving seniors more opportunities to flourish in their later years as opposed to, in many cases, them remaining at home unsocialized, unchurched and without proper medical care,” Lark said. “Studies have shown that seniors thrive in assisted living and live eight years longer on average.”
Amenities and other services include:
• Working with veterans and the Aid and Attendance program;
• Individual care and support;
• Accommodating special diets and life enrichment;
• In-house physical, occupational and speech therapy;
• Multiple activities every day “which are huge for us,” Lark said.
• A full-time chaplain;
• A chapel, a beauty salon, an outdoor grilling area, a bistro, a putting green, butterfly gardens, a library and a movie theater room;
• Partnering with other health care agencies so residents may age in place.
But the main focus of Restoration Senior Living is its faith-based, family-oriented approach to community senior living.
“By meeting the spiritual, physical, social and emotional needs of our residents, we try to empower our seniors to embrace their twilight years,” Lark said. “And with more than 200 combined years of team experience in ministry and the senior living industry, we are on a mission to restore senior care across the South.”
RSL Westgate proved so successful, demand for its brand of senior living led to the opening of a second community in February 2023 in nearby Simpsonville in Greenville County. Together, RSL Westgate and RSL Simpsonville marked Restoration Senior Living’s 11th and 12th communities since its original location in 2016 in Friendswood, Texas.
And more Upstate RSL facilities will likely be planned for the near future; the need for senior living facilities is now greater than ever before. In a 2020 report by the Administration for Community Living, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, researchers estimated the number of seniors in the United States at more than 54 million and counting.
The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care in Annapolis, Maryland, foresees that the United States will need more than 880,000 new senior-living facilities by 2030 and 986,000 by 2040. And the U.S. Census Bureau is projecting older adults to outnumber children by the year 2034 for the first time in U.S. history.
“With baby boomers continuing to retire in the next few years, there is going to be a huge need for dedicated care for all seniors,” Lark said. “And our RSL communities, at both Westgate and Simpsonville, are providing a large presence in the workforce, such as management, nursing, direct care, housekeeping, maintenance, dietary and more.”
Right now, RSL communities are expanding to a total of 17 communities, either existing or planned, with a presence in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina and soon Tennessee.
“To us, it’s all about serving others and giving seniors and their family members peace of mind,” Lark said. “And with RSL Westgate serving as the beacon, I expect our presence and model to become even more of an Upstate standard in the years to come.”
By L. C. Leach III