Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Are you looking at retirement homes?

We're not, but we thoroughly enjoyed visiting the new Willow Brook at Delaware Run in Delaware, Ohio yesterday. If you or your parents are at a stage where you're starting to think about this, I'd certainly schedule a visit. We visited our former neighbors, had a personal tour with them, and ate in the lovely dining room, The Water's Edge Restaurant, which incidentally has a French chef and is open to the public. The food was as good or better than any restaurant I've enjoyed recently.

Although this is not my favorite architectural style, nothing has been overlooked on the inside for tasteful decor and comfort of the residents. This facility just opened, so these owners/residents got to pick cabinet finishes, and extra features. A number of residents already had plans for the Erickson facility in Hilliard that went into bankruptcy, so there were some last minutes changes, and fortunately they got their money back. As I understand the plans, the area you see in this photo will eventually have buildings all around the little lake. Our friends' apartment faces the highway and a residential neighborhood (not all that close), which they just love because there is so much to look at from their large windows or balcony. They have an alcove in the living room which accomodates their grand piano--so you can see these are not small units.

At this time Willow Brook has 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and twin singles, and our friends also had a study so they were using the 2nd bedroom as a TV room. On the 3rd floor they have vaulted ceilings with gives a nice feeling of openess. There is an assisted care wing and a "memory care" wing on the first floor. There's a lovely library in the balcony area over the lobby, and we stopped by and chatted with the volunteers who were working to get the shelves stocked under the supervision of a retired librarian. There's an artists' workshop, an underground garage, exercise facilities with the latest in equipment, a chapel (not much there yet except chairs despite all the retired preachers), and a very large activity/banquet room.

We met a number of the pleasant staff including Larry Harris, CEO, and the chef, and some of the residents, many retired pastors and professors and business people. Willow Brook is part of Christian Communities (Church of Christ). There is also a Willow Brook Christian Village (about 20 years old) and Willow Brook Christian Home (skilled nursing and rehab).

So if you're starting to look, or you have a parent thinking of moving closer to the children, this facility is about a 45 minute drive from Arlington if you use Rt 33 and about 35 using Rt 315 (we tried both). Delaware is a college town with a nice business district--however, I'm sure there are so many activities planned for the residents they don't have much time to take in the local sights. We heard only two very mild complaints from two couples we know there--they haven't found a local church and haven't changed doctors, dentists, hair dressers, etc., and are still driving back to Columbus.

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