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.”