By Alexander Germanis
Some things in life are just not quite as good as they could be. So, we tend to find ways to add that little extra to bring them up to the level where we feel they should be. It is why we have vitamin-enriched flour for healthier baked goods or why uranium is enriched to be a better fuel in reactors.
This act of enrichment can apply to nearly every aspect of life, from eating to exercise, and from social gatherings to personal relaxation. Enrichment is a pillar of living at the Village at Mercy Creek in Normal, because they know that even though retirement is a good time of life, it can stand to be a little better.
Enriching the Community
The single best reason to move to a senior living community is denoted by its name: being a resident of a community—part of a greater whole. At the Village at Mercy Creek, being a member of their community means being a valuable, loved member of a large family.
Whether a resident of independent living or assisted living, that feeling of belonging is the same, but they each come with that little bit extra.
“Independent Living residents want to be part of a community and have the additional support, socialization, and amenities,” says Cari Najera, Assisted Living Marketing Coordinator for the Village at Mercy Creek. Gone are the inconveniences of home upkeep, lawn maintenance, snow removal, or even appliance repair. “They are free to do the things they enjoy. Eventually, if they do need assisted living, they can continue to stay right here in our community.”
Residents in assisted living enjoy the same social aspects as residents in independent living: friends and neighbors right outside the door, daily opportunities for socializing, activities, and dining. Plus, for both residents and their loved ones, there is the peace of mind that comes from knowing there is nursing staff available if they need it.
“The Village at Mercy Creek is a friendly, welcoming community,” Cari insists. “Visitors often comment about how residents leave their doors open, inviting neighbors to stop by. Our community is small enough so that we can offer a home-like atmosphere but large enough that we can offer all the premier amenities the larger senior living communities offer.”
Life is made a little bit better when one has options. At the Village at Mercy Creek, the options begin with one’s choice of home. Both independent and assisted living residents can choose between one-bedroom, one-bedroom deluxe, and two-bedroom apartments. Should apartment living not quite appeal to independent living residents, they can also choose to reside in condo-style villas.
“All of our apartments are inviting and feature a private bathroom, window coverings, and individually controlled heating and air conditioning,” Cari says. “There are a variety of floor plans to choose from. Included in the monthly rate is maintenance-free living, basic cable television, Wi-Fi Internet access, housekeeping and flat linen services, and all utilities, including telephone service. Washers and dryers are conveniently located on each floor for personal laundry.”
The dining service provides restaurant-style dining for three meals per day, staffed by an executive chef and a team of professionals. Of course, the urge to snack doesn’t always hit according to a schedule, so food and beverage bistros are open 24 hours a day.
Should the desire surface to do a little shopping, scheduled, local transportation services can be arranged with the concierge. Or if you want to get out but don’t want to go far, the landscaped courtyard, patio, walking path, and gardening areas provide the perfect, serene settings for getting back in touch with the outdoors.
Regardless of how one chooses to spend one’s time, the Village at Mercy Creek reassures its residents with 24-hour security, an emergency call system, and daily wellness checks.
Naturally, the best way to improve one’s life is to improve oneself. Remaining active is a great way toward this improvement. Of course, at the Village at Mercy Creek, “activities” are given a more telling title: Life Enrichment.
“Life Enrichment is designed around the seven dimensions of wellness,” outlines Ashley Zobrist, Director of Life Enrichment. “The seven dimensions that we follow are: mental, physical, emotional, social, spiritual, environmental, and occupational.”
The forms Life Enrichment takes are myriad, spanning educational, cultural, social, and recreational activities. Social gathering and game rooms, a beauty salon/barber shop, a spa with whirlpool tub, a billiards room, a library area, and a wellness room all provide relaxing areas where residents can get in touch with their friends, their neighbors, or just themselves.
“Worship services are available as well,” Ashley explains, “as a dedicated pastoral team meets the diverse spiritual needs of our residents.”
In order to keep all of one’s enriched life options organized, residents can use monthly activity calendars and make sure they don’t miss out on their favorite activities.
Only the best forms of Life Enrichment are considered, Ashley assures. “When designing programs, outings, and more for each day of the week, we focus on how the interactions best lead to a resident’s quality of life. We include intergenerational programs, therapy dogs, volunteer opportunities, religious-based programs, hydrotherapy swim class, and many more extra programs during each week!”
One cannot talk about enriching life without mentioning one of the things that makes life worth living: food.
“When the subject is food, our residents are like the rest of us,” says Culinary Director Hector Rodriguez-Castro. “They want the choice of foods that they like—freshly prepared, nutritious, and great-tasting—shared in fellowship with friends and family.”
These healthy meals are prepared daily, utilizing recipes that use fresh ingredients, locally grown produce, and that feature regional flavors. “The varied menu allows residents the freedom to select items based on their dietary needs and personal preferences,” says Hector. “We serve our residents restaurant-style, and their eating enjoyment and comfort level make them feel more at home.”
Each meal is presented with several featured entrees. At dinner, residents can choose from baked seafood, chicken breast, a selection of vegetables, and freshly baked rolls and bread. An array of delicious, inviting desserts are also prepared daily. Fresh fruit, cookies, juices, coffee, and tea are also available throughout the day and evening.
In addition, hearty soups, fresh salads, burgers, build-your-own sandwiches, grilled specialties, delicious sides, and breakfast entrees are served at any time.
Residents can also socialize during themed dining events held throughout the year and at regular happy hours. Of course, should a resident wish to host a family and friends for those extra-special events, there is a quieter, more intimate private dining room available to reserve as well.
“Everything we do at the Village of Mercy Creek is to provide a beyond-plus-ultra experience in the dining room,” declares Hector. “There is nothing more notable than to see smiles at the table.”
Hector is always willing to go that extra mile for the residents or, if the situation demands it, a quarter of a million miles. “I always tell them that if I have to go to the moon to make them happy, I will.”
Life is full of ups and downs, of joys and disappointments. Once one makes it through the trials of work, raising a family, and making ends meet, it’s time to jettison the downs of life and start focusing on the ups.
Retirement should be a time to settle down and enjoy all the good for which you have spent a lifetime working. At the Village at Mercy Creek, they’ll turn that good into something better, because you deserve it.
The Village at Mercy Creek is located at 1501 Mercy Creek Drive in Normal, Illinois. To visit us, please schedule an appointment to tour our home by calling (309) 268-1501 or visit us on the web at www.franciscanministries.org/village-at-mercy-creek.
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