June 7th, 2010 Categories: Alexandria
A frequent question on our neighborhood list serv is about retirement homes or nursing homes (or some variation thereof) and their services.
One of the most frequently mentioned, and always recommended is Goodwin House. Considered one of the premier continuing care retirement (CCRC) facilities in Northern Virginia, Goodwin House is a model for senior living.
What is a continuing care retirement facility? According to HelpGuideOrg, a continuing care retirement community is “a residential community for the remainder of one’s life, with a choice of services and living situations. Seniors can move between independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care based on changing needs at each point in time.”
Goodwin House is actually comprised of two communities – one in Alexandria and one in Bailey’s Crossroads. Both locations are owned by Goodwin House Inc., a nonprofit organization established under the direction of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia in 1968. Although associated with the Episcopal Church, Goodwin House is open to and welcomes a diverse population.
For the purposes of this post, we are going to concentrate on Goodwin House Alexandria.
Independent living at Goodwin House can mean anything from a studio to a three bedroom, three bath apartment. As each resident moves in, the apartments are refitted, re-carpeted, repainted and reorganized to suit the particular needs of the individual or couple.
Kitchens come fully equipped with dishwasher, stove, microwave, disposal and refrigerator. Closet interiors are outfitted with shelves, double hanging rods and, again, are designed to fit the needs of the residents.
My mother-in-law (did I mention she lived at Goodwin House?) added picture molding, louvered doors separating the kitchen from the living room, mirrored doors for her closet, track lighting inside the closet and a cat. Like I said, everything is personalized.
Meals are taken either in the formal dining room or in a sunny, casual cafe and are a great social activity. In fact just about any thing at Goodwin House becomes a social activity.
There are more than 25 clubs or committees and something is always afoot. Whether it’s a new class on how the brain works, the woodworking shop, the landscaping committee, a trip to the Leesburg Outlets, a visit to the Kennedy Center or endless rounds of bridge, the residents set a new standard for “retirement”.
In fact, most of the pictures here were taken just the other day at a day long arts festival.
Of course activity does not make a place safe and secure but it is indicative of the involvement of the residents and how they are choosing to live – fully and completely.
For those whose lives are less active – whether through an accident or a long term illness – the nursing or rehab floor provides 24hr. care and physical and occupational therapy. Assisted living has its own floor and Alzheimers or dementia patients reside in yet another care area.
In an industry where turnover is high, Goodwin House has an amazing record of longevity and workers, on all levels, boast of having been there 10, 15 and even 20 years. I was amazed at how quickly the staff learned my mother-in-law’s name (and ours) and how, the two times she has needed overnight hospital care, they were genuinely concerned. There is also a very high ratio of staff to residents which contributes to the overall feeling of well being.
I think it is this combination of professional, accredited care, respect for the individual, residential empowerment and staff consistency that makes Goodwin House so special.
I am very glad it is where my mother-in-law choose to live – she’s happy and that makes us happy.