By Alexander Germanis
This can be a magical time of year—a time when traditions are honored, memories are made, and many things from the past are brought out to receive new life. Whether it’s through the hanging of Christmas decorations or handing down a treasured heirloom, the timeless saying “what once was old is new again,” is certainly a perfect fit in this season.
At Independence Village in Peoria, they have spent more than a year renovating their surroundings, making them new again for all their residents. And as with making any other old things new again, revitalizing a community has a magical way of revitalizing those who call it home.
Honoring the Past
Few would disagree that things used to be made better than they are now. Older buildings, for example, were once constructed with better materials, more forethought, and a sense of craftmanship that has been all but lost in today’s world.
Independence Village Executive Director Juliana Jordan says they fully recognized the beauty of that which came before, so when the renovations were underway, they set out to honor that beauty the best way they could: by bringing it back to the forefront.
“Independence Village was the first of its kind in the Peoria market,” she says. “When it was first built, it was a grand sophisticated building. Rich jewel tones and high-end interior finishes complemented its impressive brick exterior. We wanted to take notes from the past and keep its striking appearance.”
Those lush greens from the past have been brought back, to be joined in the new interior by an array of warm grays and various wood tones. “New furnishings throughout the building introduce a color palette synonymous with sophistication and luxury,” Juliana adds. “Deep blues, rich greens, and natural tones combine for a sense of serenity while maintaining a refined aesthetic.”
Adding to Daily Life
Retirement should be a time to enjoy all those things that couldn’t be indulged during a busy life of working and raising families, but it should also be a time to find new enjoyment in familiar activities and hobbies. The renovation at Independence Village has increased access to those great amenities of life.
Food may be a necessity but being able to find joy in it seems to be a purely human endeavor. For the foodies and gourmands at Independence Village, a new community kitchen has been added for residents to indulge that joy on their own, without the need of kitchen staff or professional chefs. Now the residents are able to take part in planned cooking activities or reserve the community kitchen as a space to gather with family and friends.
Should anybody get a little carried away with the cooking and eating, the fitness room has been doubled in size in order to accommodate new, senior-friendly equipment and group fitness classes.
Of course, life is not all about eating and exercise. A little distracting entertainment from time to time is just as necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The former activity room on the third floor of Independence Village has been renovated into a new theater/community room.
“We added a built-in buffet with storage for snacks and activities along with a sink and small refrigerator to accommodate an array of uses and gatherings,” Juliana says. “The large, 80-inch TV allows for movie watching; and the comfortable, functional theater chairs are on casters to allow us to flex the overall use of the room.”
“We added a game room on the first floor where residents gather and play games, hold book clubs, play trivia, and gather for conversation,” she continues. “We moved the library to the second floor overlooking the entry way. It is now an open and inviting space for residents to pick out a book, relax, and read.”
Extending Health, Expanding Memories
“Making a significant impact in the lives of our residents was top of mind when reimagining the community,” says Juliana. “The expanded exercise room with new senior friendly equipment helps residents improve their physical heath, which of course supports their longevity as well as prevent or delay many of the health problems that seem to come with age. Residents can now enjoy our group fitness classes with their friends in a fun environment.”
The added community kitchen not only provides a place for residents to gather with friends and family, but it also serves as a place where they can reconnect with fond memories of times spent entertaining and gathering around delicious food with the people they care about the most.
Reliving past memories alone is not enough. Making new ones is just as vital to maintaining good mental health. “Residents can enjoy cooking classes, entertaining groups, Men’s and Women’s Club activities and so much more!” states Juliana. “Socialization is key. These activities undoubtedly aim to improve the overall mental health of our residents.”
Socialization isn’t only found in talking and gathering in groups, however. Sharing a game at the new pool table, enjoying some shuffleboard competition, or indulging in the game room and movie theater are great ways to connect with one another as well.
Nothing serves as a better fount of memories and socialization than with what Juliana proudly proclaims: “The holidays are here! We love celebrating with our residents. Our community is even more beautiful this time of year. Christmas trees and holiday décor can be found throughout the community. We enjoy so many fun and festive activities during these months. The joy of the holidays can be found each day at Independence Village. We are a community that loves music, and we will have even more of it during the holidays. Festive games, hot chocolate, incredible food, and fun is what we do! We will even have a visit from Santa!”
No months of construction, no added space, no extra amenity can make up for personal, caring, human relationships. At Independence Village, the renovations were simply a means to an end. Led by their mission: “Love the Way You Live,” the staff seek to enact their vision of infusing happiness into each and every resident, each and every day.
That infusion begins with the value of family, states Juliana, followed by family serving family, having an attitude of gratitude, making a difference, innovating with integrity, leading with a service heart, and, lastly, “You,” she stresses. “Most importantly, Independence Village is known for our kind, caring and friendly environment. Our team members genuinely care about our residents, their well-being, and happiness. We truly enjoy our residents and create real and sincere bonds with them.”
With that level of care, it’s not just Independence Village experiencing new life. The residents themselves are able to enjoy a renovation of the mind and spirit and, ultimately, feel new again.
Independence Village is located at 1201 West Northmoor Road in Peoria, Illinois. If you would like to tour our community and see for yourself what we have to offer you or your loved one, please call us at (309) 691-1888 or visit us on the web at www.independencevillagepeoria.com.
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