CALUMET - For the first year or so, GardenView felt a little empty. But when the neighbors began to show up, things started to feel downright homey.
In a 'down-home' sort of way even last week, when residents and guests packed the sitting room and lobby to enjoy classic country favorites from the Over the Hill Gang.
Events that bring everyone together are part of what make GardenView Assisted Living & Memory Care an "ideal" home away from home, according to Anne Marsolino, who moved there from Las Vegas, Nev. with her husband John more than a year ago.
Residents at GardenView enjoy clowning around with the staff.
"It's very nice. I like all the staff. I miss my house but I enjoy this, too," she said.
The first year, which ended with only nine residents in the 47-person home, was tough, admitted GardenView's Lance Peterson. But things exploded last year when GardenView took in displaced residents from other facilities evacuated due to fire and closure.
Currently, the population stands at 40, Peterson said, leaving limited openings for folks ready to leave the winter shoveling behind.
Peterson said the cost for most residents is comparable to what they'd spent maintaining a private home, and contracts are month-to-month to accommodate residents who might want to migrate seasonably.
When is a good time to consider assisted living?
"If it's on your mind, it's probably a good time," Peterson said.
GardenView's residents maintain their independence. They come and go as they please, a few even have cars and many live with their spouses in suites designed for couples.
The exception are those in the specially-designed and staffed memory care unit. But unlike people hospitalized for diseases such as Alzheimer's or dementia, these folks can still share their bedrooms and lives with their spouses, who maintain as much of a caregiver role as they desire. Next spring, GardenView will be adding an outdoor memory care area.
"If I walk into memory care, those are probably the most happy people here," said GardenView executive director and registered nurse Linette Abb.
GardenView has several RNs and Certified Nursing Assistants on staff 24 hours a day and offers continuing professional development. It provides hospice care and other services that allow residents to remain through the end of their life without moving to a hospital or nursing home. There's even someone to help with veteran's benefits.
Three meals a day are provided, but residents' rooms also include a microwave and fridge. For more extensive cooking, there's a large, shared country kitchen for residents to use with family, friends or staff.
All the food's good, according to Anne Marsolino. Her favorite?
"Lance's pasties," she said.
If residents need ingredients or whatever - they can make their request to the "country store." GardenView will drive and do the shopping, and residents can buy the goods at cost.
There's also a "fabulous" activity director, Abb said. She brings in acts like the Gang, schedules color tours and other outings, and hosts casino nights, weekly happy hours and even a few more traditional activities.
The variety and quality of services have earned GardenView the designation of licensed Assisted Living facility, one of the few homes in the region with the accreditation.
GardenView's staff are especially proud of - and thankful for - their place in the community. When they started, said Peterson, "the building was closed and falling down. We were able to come in and put over 40 people back to work."
In return, when some residents showed up from a closed home "without much more than the clothes on their back," according to Abb, residents, neighbors, vendors and Samaritans throughout the community pitched in to help.
Now, Gardenview staff give back by visiting seniors in their homes or the hospital to help them assess their needs and all the services and options at their disposal.
"If you have a need, please call," Abb said.
GardenView Assisted Living & Memory Care can be reached at 906-337-0800 or found online at gardenviewup.com.
Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by GardenView Assisted Living & Memory Care. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.