African queen visits U.S. long-term care community today

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The nation's largest continuing care retirement community will receive a very special visitor today: Memogolo Semane Molotlegi, The Queen Mother of The Bafokeng Nation in South Africa. She will be visiting Riderwood in Silver Spring, MD, to learn how to apply American-style senior housing concepts in her community.

“She wants to learn more about the nuance of senior housing in the United States,” Mel Tansill, spokesman for Riderwood, told McKnight's. “Prince George's County [where Riderwood is located] is the sister city to Bafokeng, and Riderwood is the largest CCRC in the United States. It seemed appropriate from her perspective that this is where she wanted to visit.”

The Bafokeng Nation, which currently numbers about 300,000 people, can be traced back to the 15th century. After the end of Apartheid in South Africa in 1994, the Bafokeng began investing in education reform, food security and sustainable urban planning. The Queen Mother has played a major role in the Nation's health and social development.

“She wants to meet with residents and ask them what it's like living at Riderwood,” says Tansill. “She'll want to see the Renaissance Gardens assisted living and skilled nursing facility here, and just try to take in as much as she can.”