Randolph Center community offers range of support for seniors aging locally
Community members, early depositors, and Gifford staff and board members gathered on July 12 to celebrate groundbreaking for 49 independent living apartments at the Morgan Orchards Senior Living Community in Randolph Center. Planning for the multi-phased project, the largest building project in Gifford’s history, began in 2010. The apartments are scheduled to open in late July/early August, 2017.
The 30-acre senior community includes the new Menig Nursing Home (opened May, 2015), the independent living units, and a planned assisted living facility—all on a 30-acre campus surrounded by orchards, berry patches, landscaped gardens, and trails for walking, biking, and snowshoeing. The independent living building includes 49 apartments (studio, one bedroom, one bedroom and den, two bedrooms) and community space for fitness, a woodworking shop, and artist and crafts areas.
Several depositors brought their own tools to toss the ceremonial shovel full of dirt onto meadowland that will soon surround their home. Gifford Facilities Director Doug Pfohl gave special thanks to the creative design team at Wiemann Lamphere Architects: David Roy, Heidi Davis, Michael Minadeo; and the Neagley Chase Construction Management Team, led by Andrew Martin, Rob Higgins, and Peter Nelson.
Gifford Retirement Community Executive Director Linda Minsinger thanked the early depositors for their sustaining support through a lengthy permitting process. “Thank you for being an early supporter, and for having faith in our project,” she said. “It takes courage to embark on a vision that you cannot see.”
Al Wilker and Vance Smith, among the earliest depositors, shared some thoughts about the project. Wilker said that the diversity of the local community, which includes teachers, professionals, business people, artists, and farmers, would ensure that people from all walks of life would be living there, and keeping things fun and interesting. “It’s growing, not growing old!” he said. “I look forward to learning something new every day.”
Smith encouraged the group to imagine a life free from the burdens of homeownership (mowing lawns, maintaining gardens, household repairs), and to think of new possibilities. She noted that each apartment plan is different, reflecting the design styles of early depositors. Even the breathtaking views surrounding the site offer variety: sunsets over the mountains to the west, and on the east views of a permaculture project blending wildlife, perennial, and vegetable gardens into a synergistic system that’s more than the sum of its parts. “We have the opportunity to build on and further the vision, to make this place what we want it to be,” she said. “That’s what this adventure is going to be, all of us making a greater whole!”
Gifford began offering health care specifically for seniors in 1993, when the state asked it to take over the Tranquility Nursing home in Randolph. Over the years it became clear that additional support was needed for seniors who wanted to remain in the community as they aged. Gifford has received many awards for the high-quality care offered at the hospital-run nursing home, and has expanded support for other senior needs: adult day care programs in Barre and Bethel, and the senior living community offering a continuum of senior care all on one campus in Randolph Center.
For more information about independent living at the Morgan Orchards Senior Living Community, visit http://www.giffordmed.org/IndependentLiving or call 802-728-7888.