Wildflower Court blossoms at Windemere
With hallway carpets dappled in warm russet, olive green, and gold, peacock-patterned wallpaper reminiscent of Colonial Williamsburg, honey-beige painted walls and matching trim, Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center's newly decorated Wildflower Court will offer residents a home away from home.
Windemere administrator Ken Chisholm said the renovation is aimed at creating a first step for those who do not need assisted living or nursing care, but who no longer wish to live alone or have the responsibility of taking care of a home.
"Unit two, now Wildflower Court, has always been part of the level of service we provide at Windemere, but it's never been fully utilized," Mr. Chisholm explained. "We believe it has a role in the community, so we're adjusting it to make it more homelike as a place for independent living rather than a nursing home."
The renovation is converting Unit Two's 20-bed wing to 16 beds in semi-private and private rooms, allowing for additional space and privacy for more independent residents. Almost all of the rooms have porches, some with water views of nearby Brush Pond. All of the rooms offer wireless Internet service, as well.
Unit two's new name, Wildflower Court, was chosen in a contest among Windemere residents and employees.
"What we're trying to do is make it different than the rest of Windemere, to take away the institutional feeling and make it less clinical," said Mr. Chisholm. "We will have one person there 24 hours a day, who will help with medication."
Wildflower Court will be treated as a separate unit, geared towards residents able to manage tasks on their own, complete with its own dining room with seating for 20 and recreational activities. An old laundry room has been turned into a comfortable parlor room.
Although the renovations meant moving the Licensed Practical Nurse program out of one of Unit 2's rooms, Paul Watts and Mike Perry of the Bank of Martha's Vineyard offered the nursing students a training room in the basement of the bank's Triangle branch in Edgartown. The nursing students will continue to do clinical work at Windemere and in Martha's Vineyard Hospital.
"It's an area that we have been looking to grow, and we invite the community in to see it," Mr. Chisholm said. "It's homelike, yet residents can enjoy socialization during meals in the dining room and through activities offered by the recreation department."
Windemere already offers a wide array of activities for its residents, from outings to concerts and restaurants, to in-house programs featuring speakers and musical performers, visits with baby animals, a walking club, and more.
Mr. Chisholm said that Windemere is licensed to provide outside rehabilitative services and will be trying out a new cognition program designed to help elderly residents maintain mental acuity.
Residents will be able to stay at Wildflower Court "as long as we can help them stay there," Mr. Chisholm said. The hope is that patients in the rehabilitative and nursing units who improve enough will be able to move into the independent wing, he added.
Unlike private nursing home facilities, Windemere does not kick residents out if they run out of money, Mr. Chisholm pointed out.
A $50,000 grant from the Farnsworth Trust covered almost half the cost of the renovation, Mr. Chisholm said. The project has been a team effort by Island businesses, including John Jones Construction, Karpet Kare, Martha's Vineyard Electric, and William Mueller Plumbing and Heating, he added.
Mr. Chisholm said he hopes this will be the beginning of renovating and improving other units in Windemere's 14-year-old building.
New furniture is scheduled to arrive this week. Once Wildflower Court is completed, Windemere will invite the Martha's Vineyard community to an open house. "We'd like the community to be as excited as we are," Mr. Chisholm said.
Windemere will be marketing six living spaces on the unit, as about 10 residents live there now. For those who might be interested, Mr. Chisholm suggested coming in and taking a tour.