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Featured Business, April 2023

Better Living through Splendido

It’s no secret that Southern Arizona is a magnet for retirees.  But few know that OV hosts one of the most advanced senior communities in the U.S.:  Splendido at Rancho Vistoso.

The bountiful amenities of this 356-resident community sound at first like a luxury cruise ship has been transplanted into the Sonoran Desert.  But one quickly discovers that Splendido is part of a larger project – backed by research from top universities – to cultivate the ideal environment for those “age 55 and better”.

The Person-Centric Wellness Model

With five restaurants, a bar/lounge, and its own movie theater, the 33-acre, Tuscan-themed campus has more than its share of comforts.  But luxuries are not what make Splendido so unique.

Take the example of the Michelangelo Art Studio, where residents can take classes and work on their own art pieces.  A gallery outside of the studio showcases a rotating exhibit of artwork by residents, ranging from watercolors, to mosaics, to pottery.

“Our Person-Centric Wellness Model takes it a step further than fitness, working with employees, programming, and all departments,” explains Executive Director James Edwartoski, who has worked in senior living for over 30 years.

“The model is built on the fact that wellness looks different to everyone. It’s not just about physical health, but emotional and social well-being; having goals, a supportive community, and a sense of achievement,” explains Mr. Edwartoski. “We are looking at all these components of wellness from the resident’s perspective.”

A Vast Menu of Options

Each day includes a roster of cultural and educational programs, ranging from live entertainment, to wine tastings, to Diamondback games.  Residents also run their own book clubs, writing groups, speaker series, and more.  Splendido even has its own library.

It’s also not a chore to stay active when residents can choose from an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a 10,000-square-foot fitness center, personal training, yoga classes, a day spa, and a putting green.

For residents like Steve Fox, an avid skiier, Splendido’s wide range of active offerings has made it possible for him to jump into new activities.  He has embraced the balance class and is now a regular participant at water aerobics and pool volleyball. “I love the companionship and the camaraderie of the classes,” says Steve. “And the instructors are unbelievable. They know how to make it fun!”

Pioneering Research on Senior Wellness

The Person-Centric Wellness Model is not marketing puffery:  It is the result of years of research in collaboration with major universities, including Arizona State, Cornell, and Northwestern, to consider the many factors that contribute to a person’s quality of life.  The model draws elements from Self-Determination Theory and the Social-Ecological Model.

For example, Splendido actively uses OV’s awesome desert landscape as a wellness tool.  One offering, known as “nature bathing”, involves an outing led by Splendido’s fitness staff to a pristine section of desert. There, residents are provided with comfortable mats to lie down and meditate immersively on the sensations of the landscape.

“Nature is one part of spiritual wellness,” explains Mr. Edwartoski.

The Life Plan Community Model

Splendido is what is known as a Life Plan Community.  Designed for people over a certain age, residents live independently with a continuum of living options available on-site, should the need arise. This ensures that they can essentially “age in place,” having planned ahead in terms of access to additional services and the cost of long-term care.

The community’s award-winning health center, Sonora, offers assisted living, memory support, and skilled nursing care.  Having an on-site health center is a huge boon for all residents.  If someone has a temporary illness or is recovering from an operation, they can receive skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services without having to leave home.

A Whole Town Within OV

Splendido opened in 2006 as the result of an innovative collaboration between Mather and Arizona-based Plaza Companies. It offers 293 residences, ranging from 850 to nearly 3,000 square feet. The property is ringed by stand-alone duplex Villas, as well as four wings of apartment-style Terrace Homes in the main building.

With over 200 employees, Splendido is a major employer in OV.  Mr. Edwartoski explains that while many retirement communities have “universal” employees that serve multiple functions, Splendido’s employees are specialized and offer expertise in one specific area.

“We meet people in their homes, and so staff can become like extended family,” explains Mr. Edwartoski.  “We take pride in hiring people who share our mission and core values.  Staff retention is very important to us.”

Splendido offers compensation packages that include a unique perk:  an annual reimbursement for employees to pursue self-care, such as taking a meditation class or getting a massage.

OV’s Little Tuscany

With five different restaurants, Splendido’s residents are not in danger of going hungry.

Splendido’s Tuscan theme is reflected in the fare, which is inspired by the fresh, healthy staples of the Mediterranean diet.  Marbella is the upscale, fine-dining option, while Alonzo’s offers a more casual eatery.  Granada is a bar and lounge that includes pub-style eats.

Café del Sol is the anytime food option, serving breakfast through dinner from 7:30 a.m. until 7 p.m.  The Bella Vista Terrace is a large, shaded outdoor dining area that is a popular place to dine while enjoying OV’s clear days.

All meals are made from scratch.  “We are famous for our amazing soups,” says. Mr. Edwartoski.  Diners can choose from everything from prime rib, to Southwestern specialties, to coconut shrimp.

And of course, there’s another key perk to having multiple restaurants on site: carryout and room service.

Good Living

Every day, Splendido residents face a tough choice: pick from all of the diverse options…or just relax and enjoy the ambiance.

An atmosphere like this provides endless possibilities,” says Mr. Edwartoski.

For more information, please contact:

Splendido Connections Team
(520) 878.2612

By Tom Ekman, J.D., M.Ed.