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Physician Launching New Memory Care Community With Focus on Wellness

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Sonoma County, California is about to be home to a new type of memory care community with a focus on wellness and preventative health.

That’s the vision for MD Senior Wellness, a 27-bed community that is currently under development, with an opening slated for the third quarter of 2025 at the latest. The community is somewhat unique in that its founder, Dr. Rajesh Kalra, is a physician having spent time with organizations including Kaiser Permanente, where he is currently the director of pain medicine.

He described the concept as “wellness-based lifestyle medicine.”

“My background is in physical medicine, rehabilitation, pain management, and lifestyle medicine,” Kalra told Senior Housing News.

MD Senior Wellness will offer residents an “elevated concept of good nutrition” by advocating for a good diet. The community also will focus on helping residents sleep six to seven hours a night, and aid them in forging social connections. Joining Kalra in the business is his wife Nisha, a dentist who will practice oral care with residents to help fill “a gap in what’s being provided for seniors,” he said.

Residents also will be able to take part in physical activities such as walking and tai chi. Kalra added that he is trying to create a concierge medicine service that is dedicated to seniors to better promote healthy living, with a 12-18 month timetable once the community is opened. The idea will be similar to other current concierge services, but these will be aimed specifically to seniors, with a membership structure that will offer regular in-person, telephone and video appointments.

“We believe that when we have a diverse group of seniors living together, they can learn from one another, and maybe even be role models to one another in regards to activities,” he said. “Hopefully, we’d have a nice cohort in these groups where there’s some collegiality and accountability also for one another.”

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Driving Kalra’s decision to open the business is the fact that the quality memory care communities are sparse in Sonoma County, he said. By opening the community, he hopes to better cater to locals in the area.

Kalra said changes had to be made to the Santa Rosa planning code to allow the project to move forward, as it originally didn’t allow senior communities to be within 300 feet of each other due to “oversaturation.” The text of the zoning laws were amended on Jan. 11, with a staff report noting the requested changes changed the definition of community care facilities to “allow palliative care.” Planning for MD Senior Wellness began in earnest in March 2023.

“It’s been a very long journey from then,” he said. “There’s a lot of patience involved, but I’ve had the benefit of that one year that the city has taken for me to just keep digging deeper into memory care.”

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