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1950s-themed senior center opening in Sarasota to comfort people with Alzheimer's

The franchise will have storefronts it hopes guests find familiar.

SARASOTA, Fla. — UPDATE (Nov. 30, 2021): The opening of Town Square in Sarasota has been pushed back to mid-January after a delay in the franchise obtaining its certificate of occupancy.

"We found out late in the day yesterday that while we passed all of our inspections there are still a few things per new codes that would be needed for us to get our Certificate of Occupancy," the franchise wrote in a statement. "As a result, we are unable to do 'live' tours in our building."

Instead, on Tuesday, the franchise hosted a virtual tour experience in an outdoor tent.

Previous story from Nov. 29 below:

A new 1950s-themed adult program in the Tampa Bay region may have a positive impact on people living with Alzheimer's disease or other memory struggles.

Town Square, a brand new business, is preparing to open its latest franchise in Sarasota. The company's goal is to transport seniors back in time and hopefully provide positive cognitive impacts.

Town Square describes itself as an "all-new" and "innovative" adult enrichment center that's set up with 10 individual "Main Street" storefronts to resemble a classic, small-town from the 50s.

Inside, visitors will find staffed trained to assist with Alzheimer's and other dementias. They'll see storefronts for a diner, theater, library, pub and city hall – to name a few.

“Studies show that people with Alzheimer’s and dementia often retain memories from when they were between the ages of 15 and 25; hence, the 1950s retro-theme at Town Square, which can bring positive cognitive effects for people struggling with memory issues," Michael Finn, co-owner of the Sarasota Town Square franchise, wrote in a statement.

Finn said the franchise aims to offer peace of mind to caregivers and engagement to future members who crave this type of interaction throughout the day.

On both Tuesday, Nov. 30, and Wednesday, Dec. 1, up to 250 local seniors and their loved ones will be able to attend a pre-grand opening celebration for Sarasota's Town Square, which a spokesperson dubbed "the most innovative senior adult day program in the U.S."

Attendees of the two special events – which run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – will get a preview of the programming, socialization and care Town Square hopes to provide when it opens.

The pre-grand openings will include live performances from a barbershop quartet and Motown Ross Brown. They will also feature hors d’oeuvres and giveaways. Car enthusiasts will have the opportunity to take pictures with a classic yellow 1957 Ford Thunderbird. 

“There just isn’t anything like Town Square available to Sarasota’s seniors and their caregivers right now. Town Square is a place where family members can feel great about leaving their loved ones for the entire day," wrote franchise co-owner Wendy Rickenbach.

According to a news release, Rickenbach has a history of working with seniors, including adults living with memory loss.

"In addition to the Town Square Sarasota franchise, she owns CarePatrol, a company that assists seniors in finding assisted living and memory care communities, as well as in-home care services," the release said.

Two Town Square franchise concepts are already open in Maryland and California. Besides the Sarasota location, five other new locations are expected to open soon across the country.

The Sarasota franchise is in Palmer Ranch. Its address is 3880 Central Sarasota Parkway.

Click here to learn more about the Sarasota location, which – according to its website – is scheduled to open to the public on Dec. 1. If you are interested in attending one of the two pre-opening events, you can register by clicking here for Nov. 30 or here for a second event on Dec. 1.

Event organizers say, if you are having trouble registering online, to call 941-336-5061 for help. They say they are also taking COVID-19 precautions. For instance, entertainment and food will be outside (masks are optional). Indoor tours will be limited to no more than 10 people at a time. And, they will be socially-distanced. Inside, masks will be required for tours.