“It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.” That’s how Les Cranfill, Director of Building and Grounds Arts at Arbor Acres, describes the renovation of the Fitzgerald, the building that houses the continuing care retirement community’s skilled nursing and memory care.
The 85-acre campus, home to nearly 500 residents, is re-opening the Fitzgerald, home to more than 100 residents who need the highest levels of care.
The natural gardens and park-like setting of Willingham Court are spectacular. Formerly the East Wing Commons inside Fitzgerald, it features a colorful pedestrian bridge which arches over a “pebble pond,” bringing inside the lush greenery and vibrant plants including orchids. Residents can enjoy activities, movies, or just a relaxing afternoon in the court’s open gardens. The West Wing Court, renamed Brock Court, offers a similar ambiance and includes a gift shop.
The new open feeling continues in the common areas where the two dining rooms merge, giving the feeling of eating in an outdoor park. Open kitchens offer sensory pleasure as diners view an array of entrees before making a dinner selection, making the dining experience like enjoying a meal at a downtown restaurant.
The rooms of all residents have also been recreated with large picture windows, offering a visual doorway to the outside world. The additional light makes the rooms more inviting; whether sitting or resting in bed, residents can enjoy the spectacular landscaping.
“Arbor Acres has always strived to create beautiful environments for our residents,” says President and CEO David Piner. Piner, who is retiring at the end of this year, considers the renovation an important part of his legacy. As he says, “We want no less for those who are receiving the most care.”
Arborview, Arbor Acres’ specialized area for those with dementia, also has renovated resident rooms and a resident SPA. The SPA, or Soothing Pleasures Alternative, is like a resort-inspired area where residents relax while receiving assistance in bathing.
As newly renovated sections of the building have opened, including a new salon and space for dental and podiatry appointments, the residents, their families, and staff are enjoying the bright, re-imagined areas.
“We are overwhelmed with the openness that incorporates the natural elements of rock, live plants, and garden,” say residents Betty and Bob Strickland.
After 35 years, the energy and quality of life inside Fitzgerald is greatly enhanced, making the promise of a brand new way to experience skilled nursing and memory care a reality. Without the patience of residents and their families, friends and staff, the remarkable transition would not have been possible. The metamorphosis is clearly unlike any other transformation Arbor Acres has ever witnessed.