Meet the new face of senior living in Iowa: 21-year old Haley Jenkins.
Jenkins, a senior vocal performance major, is the first student to take advantage of a new living arrangement between Deerfield Retirement Community in Urbandale, Iowa, and the Drake University Department of Music. She will sing two concerts a month for residents in exchange for free room, board and utilities.
Jenkins says she won't be missing out by living in a community of older adults. She looks forward to sharing her passion for music and hearing her neighbors' life stories. Plus, the digs are pretty great.
"I have this very spacious living room, a galley-way kitchen, a whole office to myself—which is weird—a bathroom, a guest bedroom, a walk-in closet which is for me a big perk since I’m a bit of a fashionista, and a rather large master (bedroom)," she says to Radio Iowa. Jenkins spent the fall semester studying abroad in Ireland and needed a place to live for spring semester.
Deerfield is partner with Masterpiece Living, an organization that promotes successful aging. The partnership seemed like a good fit for both residents and Jenkins.
"I've been in senior living more than two decades, and this is one of the more unusual partnerships I've seen," says James Robinson, executive director of Deerfield Retirement Community in a university news story. "This particular situation provides not just an entertainment value in terms of music, but an opportunity for residents to interact with a bright and talented local student."
Deerfield is a Life Care community providing independent living, skilled nursing and memory care. Deerfield is owned by Lifespace Communities, Inc. a not-for-profit corporation that operates 12 CCRCs in seven states that serves more than 4,300 residents.