EAST LAKE — Everything about Market Street East Lake is geared to making its residents as comfortable and secure as possible.
The 64-bed, all-inclusive memory care center at 833 East Lake Road N., between Trinity Boulevard and Keystone Road, incorporates many state-of-the art features and amenities, including a variety of sensory stimulating programs, a bakery, an art gallery and an indoor courtyard, complete with a live tree, to cater to the specific needs of their residents.
“The idea was to bring the outdoors inside,” Market Street’s assistant executive director Melisa Jakubiec said of the sky-blue ceiling and specialty lighting that can be dimmed to represent any time of day. “It’s been proven to be a good environment for the residents to stay connected with all their senses.”
“Making sure our seniors feel comfortable and welcome is our top priority,” Market Street’s executive director, Doris Acevedo, added. “As one of the premier senior living facilities in the area, we are dedicated to offering our residents a comprehensive experience that encompasses every aspect of their well-being.”
According to Jakubiec, one way to do that is to host special events, specifically ones catering to the facility’s dozen military veterans.
“On Veteran’s Day we invite 30 or so guests from the local American Legion and VFW posts and host a lunch and tea for them and their wives and families,” she said, adding, “We feel very blessed to have this connection to our vets.”
This year Market Street officials went one step further, staging a Veteran’s Day program on Nov. 4, that featured music from the J.W. Mitchell High School Chorus, prayers led by Tarpon Springs American Legion Post 46 Commander Ed Bard, a silent auction to benefit the American Alzheimer’s Foundation and a special appearance by U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis.
After nurse on call Suzanne McKay presented Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, with a plaque commemorating his longstanding dedication to veterans causes, the lawmaker said: “Veterans have always been my number one priority in the House, and you always will be. My top priority will always be taking care of you, because you deserve it.”
After cracking the place was so nice it “was like a five-star hotel at Disney World,” Bilirakis told the crowd that packed Market Street’s indoor atrium he could relate to them because his mother, Evelyn, has been battling Alzheimer’s.
“So, I know what you’re dealing with,” he said. “And we’re working very hard to increase funding for research and working with universities to find a cure, and we will do it.”
Bilirakis then presented a flag that flew over the White House to Robert Kohnken, which brought tears to the U.S. Navy veteran’s eyes.
When Bilirakis asked if there were any World War II veterans in the house, one man raised his hand.
“God bless America and God bless you,” Bilirakis said after hugging John Schmieder, a 96-year-old Army veteran who fought at Normandy. “You have made America great, and we need to honor you for your service.”
Following the playing of “Taps” and a closing comment from the American Legion’s Bard, the guests, many still emotional from the ceremony, were invited to sample food prepared by Market Street’s in-house chef.