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Couple Find Life Is Better When Not Lived Alone At St. Catherine’ Village

One drive past the glorious grounds of St. Catherine’s Village and Barbara Dorr knew it was where she wanted to retire. Fast forward a few years and she and her husband Lee were fortunate to have the opportunity to move into independent living at the Life Plan Community in Madison, Mississippi.

Residents since 2011, Barbara and Lee have made the best of their experience at St. Catherine’s Village, even during a time when restrictions and guidelines have been put in place because of COVID-19.

“Activities may be much smaller…like fewer people in an exercise group or less attendance at church services…but they are still happening,” said Barbara. “And for now, we receive our meals to go rather than dine together but we still have the chance to interact. We believe in making the best of the situation. After all, we’re all in this together.”

Not one to stay cooped up and getting out early in the morning, Lee spends time in the resident garden. And he noted that both residents and staff take the mask mandate seriously and wear them consistently.

“We’re fortunate to have so much space outside. We can walk around the lake and still social distance. That’s a tremendous feature,” said Lee. “If we lived on our own, life would be very different.”

An active member of the St. Catherine’s Village community, Barbara is looking forward to having events reinstated. She has chaired the green team, volunteered for various committees and helped put together Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s programs. Lee also has participated in many activities like the history club and coffee groups. “Lots of folks here socialize more than I anticipated,” he said.

A long-time Mississippi resident, Barbara calls St. Catherine’s Village “the best place we could be. There’s nothing like it in Mississippi. The staff is outstanding…like a family.” While Barbara fell in love with St. Catherine’s Village immediately, it took Lee a little more convincing.

“When we first looked at St. Catherine’s Village, my wife sold me on it because we could move into a patio home,” he said. Prior to meeting Barbara, Lee had never been to the south let alone Mississippi. But more than 50 years later, he feels right at home. And as he deals with some heart issues he is “so glad we are here because of the continuum of care.”

One of Barbara’s claims to fame—she ran the Olympic torch. “AT&T, where I worked at the time, was bringing the torch from New York to Los Angeles for the 1994 Olympic games. As an AT&T Pioneer, I was asked to carry it for a portion of the route. So of course, I said yes!”

Today, the torch is on display in her independent living apartment. The couple have a residence with a balcony so they can enjoy the fresh Mississippi air. And Lee can do what he loves—cooking. As the chef in the family, he finds the kitchen convenient “for one…me.” Barbara jokingly agreed, “The only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the apartment.”

The best thing about St. Catherine’s Village, according to the Dorrs, is that it is truly like no other place. Barbara invites people to come and visit—they have good people to show you around.

“Life really is better when it’s not lived alone,” she concluded.

A Generation Of St. Catherine’ Village Residents Have Moved Through The Life Plan Community’s Continuum Of Care

As a senior, having somewhere to live where you feel comfortable and safe is extremely important given today’s public health concerns. Melissa Ridgway has found such a place—St. Catherine’s Village, Madison, Mississippi’s preeminent Life Plan Community.

“St. Catherine’s Village was made by God to take me through life,” she said. Ms. Ridgway moved into an independent living apartment at St. Catherine’s Village more than a decade ago after losing her husband and facing property damage from hurricane Katrina. A school teacher for 34 years, she has a master’s degree, was a member of the country club, and very active with her church and the arts.

“I had never heard of St. Catherine’s Village until I saw an ad in Southern Living magazine, but I immediately decided to call and get me an appointment. I had someone willing to purchase my property outside of Laurel so where was I going to go? Not Alabama or Delaware where my daughters lived.”

After speaking with a sales person and enjoying a wonderful lunch at St. Catherine’s Village, Ms. Ridgway was sold. Soon after, she moved into the perfect independent living apartment with a balcony and “before I knew it, I met all the women from my sorority that I knew from Millsaps. Across from me was a woman who came from Greenville and we knew each other already. Also, there was a doctor’s wife who was her best friend who came from my home town.”

In 2009, after visiting family in Mountain Brook, Ms. Ridgway landed in St. Dominic’s hospital with a heart condition. She then spent some time recuperating in Siena Center at St. Catherine’s Village after back surgery. “After I took a spill from my buggy chair, the doctors and nurses were worried about me. But I told them I was going back to Siena Center because I knew I would be well taken care of there.”

“When I first moved here, I could get in my car and go. But once I found out I had heart trouble and had to take it easy, the time came when I could no longer do many of the things I used to. I knew it was time to move to assisted living.” Now 90, Ms. Ridgway lives in a “penthouse” in Marian Hall, where she receives therapy as well as daily personal care. “I have so much room—a big bedroom, walk-in closet—I don’t know what to do with it.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, life at St. Catherine’s Village has changed for Ms. Ridgway, as it has for all seniors. She stays busy in her apartment now doing needlepoint and crafts rather than engaging in social activities like line dancing which was popular in independent living. “Though I can’t run I can walk and I started swimming. And I’m going to give some of my handmade items to the children’s hospital or local orphanage.”

Like many current residents of Marian Hall, Ms. Ridgway has experienced much of the continuum of care offered at St. Catherine’s Village. Living options at the all-inclusive Life Plan Community include independent living in apartments and garden homes, assisted living in Marian Hall, memory care in Campbell Cove, and skilled nursing in Siena Center, Hughes Center and the new Tuscany expansion. The all-inclusive Life Plan Community was the first in Mississippi to earn accreditation by CARF-CCAC. This “commitment to excellence” seal signifies that the campus exceeds the standards established by the only international accrediting body for CCRCs.

Ms. Ridgway’s advice to someone considering a move to a senior living community? “I’ve never looked back. St. Catherine’s Village truly was the best choice for me.”

Robbie Hughes’ Testimonial

I feel so blessed to be living at St. Catherine’s Village – especially right now! The people here are doing everything possible to protect us, to keep us safe and, above all, to keep us well!!!!! We have been instructed to abide by all the health precautions given by those in authority concerning the dreaded Corona virus. We use face masks and social distancing, plus safe hand washing practices. We can’t have visitors yet, but we can venture out for necessary errands & Dr. visits. As this pandemic started, we not only had our meals delivered to our rooms, but our mail was delivered to our doors! Now, I call that REAL service!

We are encouraged daily…our administrators don’t want us to get depressed, or feel we aren’t cared for…we KNOW they truly have our best interest at heart!

I only have to look out my windows to see the beautiful lake, with ducks and geese swimming along under blue skies, to know that “God’s in His Heaven – all’s well with St. Catherine’s”. I know this too will pass and God will make everything right!

Richard Johnson’s Testimonial

“I don’t think SCV could’ve done any better.” I’ve told friends I feel like I’m staying at a five-star hotel! We’ve had meal delivery, mail delivery, iced tea delivery and ice cream delivery. You guys have been doing a great job. It’s amazing that there have been no coronavirus cases in Independent Living with this many people. I’m glad I got here before Covid.

Father Cosgrove’s Testimonial

As Pastor of St. Francis Catholic Church in Madison (1994-2005) I was responsible for Catholic ministry at SCV. For 11 years I saw the care that SCV offered to residents of all faiths; especially those in need of nursing care. I was inspired with the sense of community among residents. From daily mass to croquet games to social events like the interfaith choir. As I was being transferred to Meridian in 2005, the community presented me with a scrap book to remind me of my years at SCV and to invite me back. I knew I would return as a resident. These feelings have been confirmed and exceeded as we cope with the Coronavirus, I am glad that I am apart of the SCV caring community of staff and residents. I’m grateful for the sense of community and caring. Despite social distancing and multi colored masks, I know we are together. My family in Ireland is also grateful that I will be cared for the rest of my life in a place where I am happy and content.

Weighing The Options Of A Life Plan Community In Today’s Environment

In light of the current healthcare crisis facing our country…one in which senior living communities have been particularly hard hit…many people are re-thinking whether or not they should move their loved ones into independent living, assisted living or skilled nursing. While this is a thoughtful decision at any time, it is being evaluated with even more caution now. But in reality, leading Life Plan Communities like St. Catherine’s Village have measures in place to minimize health risks to their residents while providing high quality care and much needed social interaction.

Even prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, St. Catherine’s Village adhered to best practices for cleanliness and hygiene as well as implemented strict infection control procedures. Before the start of each flu season, for example, the award-winning community requires not only its staff be vaccinated, but also contract workers and private duty staff. This has garnered St. Catherine’s Village a place on the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) Influenza Vaccination Honor Roll—the only Life Plan Community in the Jackson, Mississippi area to receive this designation.

Earlier this year, St. Catherine’s Village put in place additional precautions to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, screening anyone who came onto campus and requiring employees to wear masks and personal protective equipment as set forth by CDC and Mississippi Department of Health guidelines. These standards would be difficult, if not impossible, for seniors to achieve in their own homes or while living with family.

For seniors who do experience signs of illness at St. Catherine’s Village, response time for care is nearly immediate thanks to nurses and security on campus who are available 24 hours a day. There is no need for lengthy travel to get tested and physician’s appointments can be scheduled quickly.

And although both residents and staff at St. Catherine’s Village currently are practicing social distancing, seniors still are able to connect on a human level to others around them. This ability to form strong bonds with their peers and the bigger community generally leads to healthier behaviors and better overall health, according to the Year 2 Report of “The Age Well Study.” The study was commissioned to understand the impact of living in a Life Plan Community on residents’ health and wellness, comparing outcomes for seniors who live in such an environment to those who don’t.

Results initially published in “The Age Well Study” showed multiple benefits for seniors who live in a Life Plan Community, which is an age-restricted property that includes multiple levels of care—independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing—on one campus. Findings from Year 1 revealed that Life Plan Community residents, on average, have relatively high levels of health and wellness compared to older adults in the community at large.

The Year 2 Report takes a closer look at how important social ties are for well-being, even though they tend to be harder to maintain with age. Prior research that suggests loneliness, social cohesion, community belonging, religiosity, and spirituality each contribute to senior health outcomes. In this study, spirituality—defined as a sense of connection with something greater than one’s self—was associated with several measures of healthy behaviors and overall health. Results also support reducing loneliness for older adults, concluding that a greater sense of social cohesion and community belonging were positively related to healthy behaviors and health outcomes. In short, careful evaluation of a senior’s social environment is a key factor in his or her health and wellness.

So, as you weigh your options for finding care for your older loved ones, don’t be misled by the negative stories you hear on the news. Do your own research. Speak to the senior living experts at a Life Plan Community such as St. Catherine’s Village and determine for yourself if the countless benefits outweigh the risks.

Learn More About St. Catherine’s Village Life Plan Community

Three Skilled Nursing Living Options Offer The Right Level Of Care No Matter The Need

When a senior is in need of 24-hour attention—either recovering from a hospital stay or requiring long-term convalescence—skilled nursing is often the only choice. These types of facilities provide round-the-clock care from licensed and registered nurses along with assistance with activities of daily living.

However, even within a skilled nursing environment, care needs can vary greatly from one person to another. That’s why St. Catherine’s Village offers three distinct skilled nursing facilities to meet the demands of a wide range of residents.

Siena Center

Voted the best nursing home in Mississippi multiple times, Siena Center provides a protected, dignified living environment and compassionate, person-centered care. Private and semiprivate rooms comfortably accommodate 120 residents.

Offering a staff-to-resident ratio that exceeds state requirements, Siena Center has a nurse practitioner on-site Monday through Friday and a medical director on-site weekly. Two in-house social workers deliver support beyond the physical to bolster emotional well-being, as well. Plus, activities coordinators plan engaging recreational, social, cultural, therapeutic, spiritual, and enriching activities on a regular basis.

Tuscany

The newest building on the St. Catherine’s Village campus, Tuscany follows the innovative household model for skilled nursing facilities. This concept promotes a more homelike and less institutionalized feel, which decreases overstimulation and allows residents to stay more easily oriented. Each household in Tuscany occupies one floor of the three-story building and serves 18 residents in private rooms with in-room showers.

In addition to state-of-the-art facilities—including high-tech lighting, a daily living center, walking path, and spacious rehabilitation gym—Tuscany also boasts beautiful artwork that graces the walls throughout to enhance the homelike ambiance.

Hughes Center

Directly connected to Campbell Cove, which offers assisted living for memory care, the Hughes Center allows residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to age in place more comfortably. A total of 24 private bedrooms with in-room showers are available for this living option, which combines person-centered care with skilled nursing services.

When a person faces advanced memory challenges, it can be extremely difficult for them to adjust to new surroundings. So rather than force them to move and disrupt their routine, they can remain in a familiar setting in the Hughes Center as their disease progresses.

 

Regardless of which skilled nursing option is chosen at St. Catherine’s Village, residents receive unsurpassed care along with so much more. A full-time in-house dietician and culinary staff provide three meals a day from an extensive food selection that combines nutrition and taste for a healthy diet. Utilities except telephone and Internet are included in monthly fees as is regular housekeeping. Wi-Fi hot spots allow for Skyping with family. Round-the-clock campus security also is provided.

At the end of the day, each resident living in one of the skilled nursing facilities at St. Catherine’s Village is encouraged to express his or her own decisions—no matter how much skilled nursing care is required.

 

How Do You Know Which Level Of Senior Care Is Best For Your Situation?

As we age, the tasks associated with maintaining your current lifestyle can become more challenging. Everything from household chores to major home repairs, from planning and preparing nutritious meals to socializing can become overwhelming if we have to face them on our own. As a result, many people choose to move to a senior living community where they can be surrounded by others and receive support when they need it. With a variety of levels of senior care available…how do you know which is best for your specific set of circumstances?

Below are the definitions of each level of senior care to help you determine the one that’s right for you or your loved one.

Independent Living

Are you able to care for yourself but are tired of spending your time doing yard work? Or maybe you no longer feel safe tackling major home repairs. Independent living offers the opportunity to live in an apartment or attached home where all maintenance is handled for you. You still have the freedom to come and go as you choose, drive your own vehicle if you are able, and live independently. But at the same time, you can participate in a range of social activities and recreational programs, and often sign up for meal plans. At St. Catherine’s Village, independent living is the first step to an all-inclusive Life Plan program.

Assisted Living

Do you rely on family or friends to assist you on a regular basis? Perhaps you are struggling with mobility and need help around the house. Or you can no longer drive so shopping and getting out are difficult. When the point comes that you require more than just an occasional helping hand, assisted living is an ideal option. In assisted living like Marian Hall at St. Catherine’s Village, you will receive support as needed with the activities of daily living…bathing, dressing, grooming, and even medication management. You will also receive three healthy meals a day. And a nurse is available 24/7.

Memory Care

Is your loved one struggling with more than age-related memory loss? Then it may be time to consider moving to a memory care community such as Campbell Cove at St. Catherine’s Village. While nothing can cure Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, getting into a structured environment early can aid in slowing the progression of memory loss and improve quality of life. The best memory care communities provide a homelike environment with common areas that allow your loved ones to enjoy their privacy yet participate in activities as they desire. To prevent wandering, outdoor areas should be secure so residents can spend time outside in a protected setting.

Advanced Memory Care

In the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, joining group activities may be over-stimulating. A memory care community that focuses on small-group or one-on-one interactions may be a better alternative. In addition to person-centered programming, buildings designed for advanced memory care should also follow architectural principles that minimize obstacles. The Hughes Center at St. Catherine’s Village, for example, was created specifically for people with advanced memory loss and includes wayfinding cues and circulation paths to guide people from one place to another. In addition, small yet distinctive neighborhoods allow for individual privacy while supporting family-size gatherings.

Skilled Nursing

The senior care level that features the most hands-on personal and medical attention is skilled nursing. If your loved one requires 24-hour care and needs assistance with all or most daily activities, then skilled nursing is the right choice. A skilled nursing community will have at least one full-time registered nurse on staff along with access to a doctor 24/7. Most will also offer social activities as well as emotional support. At Siena Center at St. Catherine’s Village, residents can receive spiritual services, too. The goal with skilled nursing is to make your loved as comfortable and independent as possible.

You can narrow down which level of senior care is the best fit for you or your loved one by understanding what each level of services offers.

St. Catherine’s Village offers an all-inclusive Life Plan program that guarantee residents senior care services throughout their lifetime—from independent living to more intensive care in assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing.

Learn More About The Levels Of Senior Care At St. Catherine’s Village

Study Shows Life Plan Communities Enhance Seniors’ Overall Health And Well-being

 

Results published in “The Age Well Study” show multiple benefits for seniors who live in Life Plan Communities. Also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), a Life Plan Community is an age-restricted property that includes multiple levels of care—independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing—on one campus.

The recently released study was commissioned to understand the impact of living in a Life Plan Community on residents’ health and wellness. It compares outcomes for seniors who live in such an environment to those who don’t.

Gerontologists agree that both personal and environmental resources are important to aging well, saying that “it is the unique combination of personal competence and environment that determines an individual’s optimal level of function.”

Respondents in “The Age Well Study” reported that their social, intellectual, physical, and emotional wellness improved after moving to a Life Plan Community.

Residents living in a Life Plan Community have more social contact and feel less lonely.

It’s no wonder, with the variety of activities and programs these communities offer. At St. Catherine’s Village, for example, each segment—independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing—has a full calendar of activities for residents each month. These range from daily devotion for spiritual enrichment to mixers and events that encourage interaction. Residents also can participate in arts, crafts and painting classes or join clubs like the gardening club or Happy Stitchers. These activities help build camaraderie and give residents a strong sense of community belonging. Overall, research suggests that higher levels of social support and lower levels of loneliness are directly related to improved well-being.

Access to educational programs helps keep Life Plan Community residents intellectually engaged.

Keeping the mind active is just as important as keeping the body active—especially for seniors. Learning new things, attending cultural events and engaging in intellectual activities all contribute to better memory and slower cognitive decline. Residents in Life Plan Communities are more likely to participate in these activities…in part because they are readily available. St. Catherine’s Village, for instance, hosts several educational events including the Nourish Your Noggin series of workshops that present the latest research and information on brain health and aging. Residents can learn a new language by taking the beginner Spanish class. Plus, day trips to theatrical shows and concerts as well as off-campus excursions are planned.

Life Plan Community residents have better physical wellness.

Staying active, eating healthy, sleeping well, and taking care of oneself are the major influences contributing to overall physical wellness. Studies have shown that being sedentary for too long during the day can increase the risk of mortality for people as they age. And it’s easy for seniors living on their own to succumb to bad habits, especially if no one is around to encourage them to get up and get moving. At a Life Plan Community, on the other hand, there are activities for seniors of all fitness levels.  St. Catherine’s Village not only has an on-site fitness center and heated indoor pool, it also offers a variety of exercise classes to support a healthy lifestyle. These include stretching, chair yoga, low impact cardio, water aerobics, and more. Like all Life Plan Communities, St. Catherine’s Village provides nutritious dining options, too, making it easier for residents to eat well. A healthy diet rich in nutrients can help cognition and memory in seniors as well as feed the body.  When a Life Plan Community resident does experience a health issue, he or she has access to treatments and caregivers trained in senior living.

Residents in Life Plan Communities are emotionally healthier and are more optimistic and satisfied with life.

Stress is a major factor contributing to one’s attitude and overall outlook on life. Residents in Life Plan Communities reported low levels of stress—indicating they feel capable of handling challenges that come their way. Part of the reason these individuals may have low stress levels is because they are surrounded by a support system night and day. In addition to being around others in the same stage of life going through similar experiences, they have the assistance of caregivers in times of need. Most Life Plan Communities also offer classes and seminars on topics facing seniors. St. Catherine’s Village is home to a Parkinson’s support group that is open to the public as well as residents. Residents can join the choir, watch movies together, and play organized games to increase their happiness and reduce their stress.

The biggest take away from “The Age Well Study” is that Life Plan Community residents had more favorable average scores on all measures of physical, social and intellectual wellness. This may be because Life Plan Communities tend to offer environments rich in services, programs, amenities, and opportunities that support overall health and well-being.

The all-inclusive Life Care program at St. Catherine’s Village allows residents to move into an independent living apartment or home then transition to more intensive care—assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing—as the need arises. Life Care residents are guaranteed services throughout their lifetime.

Learn More About The Life Care Program At St. Catherine’s Village