Abundant Life Center Supports New Model of Senior Living

Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bricks and mortar do not make a home until there is life inside.

In just a few short months, the Abundant Life Center at Passavant Community will come to life. It will be the heart of campus, where people can gather to socialize, worship and dine. But more than that, it will be a life-affirming environment where residents will thrive.

“That has been our goal from the very start,” said Laura Roy, executive director of Passavant Community. “When we first started this process, yes, it was exciting to think about a new building. But a building is just a building. For me, it has always been about the people living inside.”

The new Abundant Life Center will become home to Passavant’s personal care residents, whose private apartments will be arranged into households. Each household will have a shared living space and a kitchen area to promote socialization among the residents. The building will also house a state-of-the-art nursing center, with 96 private rooms and three semi-private suites, also arranged into households. Twenty new independent living apartments have also been added.

Dorothy Cain, who currently lives in Olde Main, is looking forward to the opportunity to participate in cooking with other members of her household. “I used to take cooking classes,” Cain said. “Now in my new apartment, I can come out of my room and bake cookies if I want to. I’ll like that. I like to stay busy.”

The medical clinic and rehabilitation services will also be located in the new building. The fitness center has been expanded and will include a swimming pool, which can be used for recreation or rehabilitation. “Residents are so excited about the pool,” Roy said. “It is something they have asked for for a long time.”

In response to the ever changing needs of seniors and their expectations as they age, the institutional model of long corridors, hospital-like rooms and the traditional model of care have been eliminated in the Abundant Life Center, which will be a more home-like setting where the care is directed by the specific needs of each resident. This national evolution is called Culture Change, and is based on person-directed values and practices, with a focus on resident choice, dignity, respect, self-determination and purposeful living.

“Believe me, the Abundant Life Center is nothing like a traditional nursing home,” Roy said. They can wake when they want, eat when and what they want and decide how they want to spend their day. There will be spontaneity in their lives, rather than being on the regimented schedule that nursing homes traditionally offer, allowing them to live with more meaning and purpose.

Resident requests, suggestions and opinions have been taken into consideration throughout the construction process, she explained. “All of the residents here have a voice. We wanted to listen to and honor their voices as much as possible. That’s what Abundant Life® is all about.” This is most evident, she said, in Passavant’s Community Life Program, where residents drive much of the educational, spiritual and creative programming. “In the new building, we will have additional opportunities for these programs, and will continue to be open to their suggestions. One of the most important things we can give our residents is a sense of meaning and purpose.”

The Abundant Life Center will include expanded dining options including The Bistro (casual dining), Baron’s Inn (formal dining), and Creamery Café (ice cream and coffee shop). Most of the amenities residents are accustomed to will re-open in the Abundant Life Center including the library, Scholl Conference Center, Seaman Memorial Chapel, Gently Used Shop, My Day Out Center, business center, train room, creative arts studio (former Center for Creative Expression), Kidd Learning Center (former In-Service Room), business center (former computer lab), support services (former business services), game room and music room and the copy/mail room.

Once all of the residents are moved, the oldest building on campus, Olde Main, will be demolished, taking with it some of Passavant’s tradition and history. Bill Posey, who has been a resident at Passavant for 13 years, understands that it is time for this change. “Olde Main is 100 years old. It was time to replace it. I like Passavant and want to see it continue to grow,” he said. “It’s like this: if for all your life you’ve been swimming in a pond, then you get a bigger better pool, do you really miss the pond? Looking back doesn’t do anyone any good.”

Roy agrees, “The residents have been watching this come up from the ground for three years. I have no doubt that once everyone is moved in to the new building they will enjoy it and continue living an Abundant Life®.”


Pictured at right: (top) The new Abundant Life Center at Passavant Community. (bottom) Twenty new independent living apartments have been added to the building.


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