Socialization Benefits Of A Life Plan Community Especially Important Today

As we navigate through the second year of a global healthcare crisis—one that is seeing new COVID-19 variants threaten the delicate balance we’ve achieved between face-to-face interaction and safety—the toll it’s taking on our seniors remains a concern. Without socialization and stimulation, our physical as well as cognitive and emotional well-being can deteriorate as we age. That’s why Life Plan Communities that provide these services are taking on more importance than ever.

What Is A Life Plan Community?

A Life Plan Community, like St. Catherine’s Village, offers seniors housing with a continuum of care through their various stages of dependence…from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing and even memory care if needed. An all-inclusive Life Plan Community allows residents to transition from one service level to another while remaining in a familiar environment.

How Does A Life Plan Community Support Senior Well-Being?

Numerous studies have proven that staying socially active supports a senior’s overall well-being by reducing stress and anxiety and lowering the risk of depression, which often stems from isolation. At St. Catherine’s Village, numerous activities and events are available on a daily basis to keep residents engaged with one another. For physical health, the Life Plan Community provides exercise classes along with wellness programs. Support groups also are offered as are chapel services to nurture residents’ spiritual lives.

It Safe To Move Into A Life Plan Community Now?

Yes! St. Catherine’s Village specifically has implemented many additional protocols to help keep residents, staff and family members safe during the pandemic. 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.

The Right Care At The Right Time.

While moving to a senior living community is a thoughtful decision at any time, many people are weighing the pros and cons of doing so even more carefully now. Only you can determine if a Life Plan Community is the right choice for you or your loved ones. Be sure to do your own independent research, speak to the experts, and tour St. Catherine’s Village to see first-hand the measures the Life Plan Community has in place to minimize health risks while providing high quality care and much needed social interaction for all its residents.

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

Families Get Closer By Spending Their Retirement Years At St. Catherine’ Village

It’s all in the family at St. Catherine’s Village, where sisters Nancy Gilbert and Carolyn Cooper are following in their mother’s footsteps by living in the all-inclusive Life Plan Community in Madison, Mississippi.

Nancy and her husband Spencer moved to St. Catherine’s Village first. About five years ago, the couple retired to an independent living apartment from Jackson where Spencer had practiced law. They were already familiar with the community because they both had loved ones who had lived at St. Catherine’s Village before. In the early 1990s, Nancy’s mother had experienced multiple levels of care, initially moving into independent living then transferring to Marian Hall assisted living and finally Siena Center skilled nursing. Spencer’s father lived in Siena Center from 2000 to 2002.

“My dad was not here as long as Nancy’s mother—only for about two years in skilled nursing—but the care he received was outstanding,” said Spencer. “We had tried a few other places to accommodate dad’s unique situation and St. Catherine’s Village really was the best.”

“We always knew that when the time was right for us, we’d move to St. Catherine’s Village, as well,” said Nancy, adding that the couple was so impressed by the care their parents had received that they never considered moving anywhere else for their retirement years.

“Our children are far away—one is in Seattle and one is on another continent—so we didn’t have family locally,” she continued. “I became so accustomed to driving from our home in Jackson to St. Catherine’s Village to see my mom that after she was gone, my heart would still lead me in this direction.”

In fact, Nancy started volunteering at Siena Center in 1999, singing hymns at Campbell Cove for residents in memory care. After moving in in 2017, she was able to expand her volunteer work on campus.

Joining her in her musical volunteer work was Bill “Slim” McCulloch, a musician who played for the skilled nursing residents and during happy hours. Born in Chicago, Slim grew up in Washington, DC, then came back to Chicago in the 1960s to launch a career in print journalism. Working in Michigan, Massachusetts and eventually North Carolina, Slim also moonlighted as a blues musician. He met Carolyn, Nancy’s younger sister, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina when they were both in their 50s.

“We hit it off immediately and have been partners ever since,” he explained. “We knew pretty early in our relationship that we wanted to retire to a Life Plan Community but the financial crisis of 2007 pushed out our prospective date to move. After seeing how happy Nancy and Spencer were at St. Catherine’s Village, we took another look in 2019 and realized we could afford it.”

Slim and Carolyn found the right fit in a cozy, third-floor independent living apartment that overlooks one of the lakes at St. Catherine’s Village.

“What appealed to me the most was the beauty of the place,” said Carolyn. “The apartment was completely renovated and is aesthetically very pleasing but I adore the gorgeous grounds—there are 160 picturesque acres and it has a real college campus feel.”

And, she remembered how comforting St. Catherine’s Village was, especially at night.

“When I used to come and visit my mom, then when Nancy and Spencer moved in, sometimes I’d stay in a guest room,” she said. “Walking down to their independent living apartment I always felt so safe and secure.”

Carolyn, a former nurse, and Slim continue to appreciate the level of care they receive.

“We’ve both had medical emergencies and nurses responded immediately—as did security,” she explained. “Everyone was just marvelous and when Bill took a tumble, it was a great comfort to know that such a high level of service is offered.”

Carolyn and Nancy grew up about 40 miles away in Yazoo City, but Carolyn moved away and eventually came back to live closer to her son.

“It has been such a joy to be here with my sister,” she said. “We fought as kids and never dreamed we’d so happily share this stage of our lives.”

“Being a resident here has given us a feeling of security that will carry us right on through because no matter what level of care we need, we know we’ll get it and be well served,” said Nancy.

Madison’s pre-eminent all-inclusive Life Plan Community, St. Catherine’s Village is the first retirement community 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. Living options include independent living in apartments and garden homes, assisted living in Marian Hall, memory care in Campbell Cove and Hughes Center, and skilled nursing in Siena Center and Tuscany.

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.


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.