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Intentional Senior Living near UofM North Campus

Intentional. This one word best describes Atria Park of Ann Arbor, which offers both assisted living and memory care. From the design of the building to the available resident programs to the employee benefits and more, the details are all planned very intentionally to best encourage the residents to thrive and ‘live well’.

Recently, I toured Atria Park with Paula Grzybowski, the Community Sales Director. In addition to demonstrating the welcoming character of Atria Park, Paula did an excellent job of explaining the purpose behind many of the details of the community and their programs.

Private Pond and Walking Path

The building exterior features a large wraparound porch and a spacious patio area to enjoy in the warmer months. The walking paths and small private lake on the grounds encourage residents to take a stroll outside in the fresh air. The location across from UM North Campus is convenient to medical centers, cultural activities, shopping, and more.

Staff Offices Located in the Heart of the Community

The floorplan of the community lends itself well to natural engagement between the administrative staff and the residents. Staff offices feature interior windows and are placed in active areas of the community, which provides a feeling of accessibility to residents and gives staff members opportunity for casual observation of activities. In addition, the department directors meet with individual residents and their families at defined intervals to be sure that all the residents’ needs are being met.

Gathering Area in Assisted Living

The design of the interior is very welcoming and has the feel of a small village. The hallways are short and wide, rather than long and narrow. Resident rooms have both exterior windows and a window into the hallway, which make the rooms feel even more like individual residences. The lighting in common spaces is intentionally bright for both safety purposes and to provide a more uplifting environment. An interesting safety feature is hidden dividers than can seal off areas of the building to provide safety in the event of an emergency situation.

Memory Care Residents Gather to Enjoy a Holiday Movie

Memory care is located on the fourth floor and is accessible through secured entry and exit. Residents of memory care are encouraged to live communally, considering their rooms as their sleeping quarters and the common areas as their living space. This is beneficial for both safety and socialization purposes. Staff are specially trained and work exclusively in the memory care neighborhood. The memory care neighborhood is designed for residents’ safety so that they can freely move about the area and maintain a feeling of independence. One of the most beautiful spots at Atria Park is the treetop terrace which is part of the memory care neighborhood.

Atria’s approach is to focus on wellness and prevention. Good food is an important part of that approach, of course, so much effort is made to ensure dining options are both nutritious and delicious. During my visit, I had the opportunity to enjoy lunch with the residents in the main dining room. There were several appealing options on the menu that afternoon. My meal and the service by the staff were very good and definitely restaurant quality. The chef keeps in regular contact with residents to get their feedback to ensure that they are enjoying the culinary offerings.

Activity Calendar is Color Coded to Indicate Categories of Engagement

Utilizing Atria’s Engage Life program, the activities staff plans programs and events that meet six categories of engagement: health and physical fitness, civic and professional involvement, well-being curriculum, social connection and entertainment, lifelong learning and intellectual stimulation, and creative expression and the arts. The calendar is full of programs and events in each category including off-site activities. Assisted living residents have also formed a number of clubs including veterans, knitting, and poetry.

In addition to the variety of scheduled wellness activities in assisted living and memory care, residents have access to physical therapy through a partnership between Atria and Fox Rehabilitation. Two practices of doctors, a podiatrist, and a dentist all serve the residents in the community. There is also a NuStep exercise machine in a bright corner of the climate-controlled veranda in assisted living.

NuStep Exercise Machine Designed for Seniors

Atria is also intentional about how they treat their employees, recognizing that having a consistent workforce of happy employees is beneficial to the residents and to the company. In addition to their regular compensation, employees have access to financial recognition awards, tuition reimbursement, and scholarships. Staffing ratios exceed state guidelines to provide more personalized care and reduce employee burnout. Unlike many businesses, this community has not had difficulty retaining their employees.

Atria Park of Ann Arbor’s intentional approach to senior living appears to be working. The assisted living and memory care residents I encountered during my visit were very engaging and I truly enjoyed visiting with them.


Tina Doyle is the Founder of MI Seniors Move, a company focused on assisting seniors with every aspect of moving - including education, planning, downsizing, real estate sales, and relocation management. As a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) and a candidate for Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) certification, Tina is dedicated to ensuring that her senior clients and their families are treated with the utmost care and compassion. Please contact Tina at (734)904-2841 or for a no-obligation consultation to discuss senior housing options, the downsizing process, and strategies for a successful move. It is Tina’s goal to be your resource for all things related to senior housing.

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