Phyllis Neuberger – John Knox Village Keeps its Residents Safe

I was a 48 hour guest in the fifth floor “Egret” home in the Woodlands at John Knox Village

by Phyllis J. Neuberger

phyllis-neuberger-headshot-croppedIt took a Village…John Knox Village (JKV), to keep its over 800 residents safe and ready for Matthew, the hurricane that threatened Broward County and the entire east coast of Florida this past week. We lucked out, but I must praise JKV for its smooth handling of this potential crisis.

A friend moved into my apartment. She, and the over 100 residents living in villas, were forced to evacuate. Many went to stay with friends in the high rises; at least 65 others settled into the auditorium. They, along with staff, slept on cots and air mattresses, dormitory style. Before the track of the hurricane was known, every resident of JKV was in a generator equipped safe place with staff on hand to provided service, comfort and reassurance.

Those in need of air conditioning and/or oxygen were moved to the Woodlands, the newest, state of the art building with adequate generator support for its most vulnerable residents.

This unique nursing home/rehab center, called the Green House, offers person centered care. What does that mean? Does it really work? I had the opportunity to find out.

With a small wheeled suitcase I arrived on the fifth floor of the Woodlands. I rang the doorbell at the Egret home and was greeted by Cathy who said, “Welcome to our home, Miss Phyllis. We hope you will be comfortable here during your stay. Just let us know what you want or need and we will be happy to provide it if we can,” she said as she escorted me to 5110.

I settled into my own private room with bath, huge windows to the world, a large TV, clothes closet, dresser, comfy chair and a bed that could do everything but levitate. I plugged in my 1-phone charger and settled into a chair with a book. The television, volume on low, kept me informed about the oncoming storm.

About an hour later, the smell of cookies baking drew me to the large main area that included a living, dining and kitchen design. There I met the 11 “elders”, the Green House term for its residents. Someone said, “I’d rather be called a senior.” Lillian nodded in agreement. Anna preferred being called a ‘resident’. Arlyne said, “Call me Arlyne with a “Y”,” adding, ”My name is really Mary Arlyne but I’ve always been called Arlyne. I asked my mother why she named me Mary if she was going to call me Arlyne. She replied, “Nothing comes ahead of the Virgin Mary.” Everyone giggled.

I met Ruth who had lived in St. Andrew, another retirement community, for 15 years. When it came time to settle into a nursing home/rehab facility, she and her son chose the Woodlands. She described the service as outstanding.

Asked about their care, the elders on hand gave the private room, bath and staff thumbs up. After two days as a guest, I agree. I had wonderful care from Cathy, Dianne, Marcia, the two Amys {both nurses} and others whose names I never got to know. I even met the tiny visiting puppy who looks like a stuffed animal come to life.

Breakfast is made to order for each resident as he/she shows up. I was early at 8 a.m. Lillian was the only person seated at the table for 12. I ordered and enjoyed scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, coffee, juice and toast. Lunch of cottage cheese, fresh fruit and just baked cookies was perfect. Dinner one night was Bourbon pork and the next night, Sheppard’s pie. If I had wanted soup and a sandwich instead it was available.

I had the option of total privacy and socializing. My choice. If I was in need of any information or service, a call button was answered quickly. Is there a nightlight? How do I pull down the handsome window shades? Work the bathroom shower?

For those who have had to give up independent living for custodial care, the Woodlands with its 12 homes and 12 elders to a home, seems to be a perfect answer. Elders can count on being treated with courtesy, respect and personal choice. Although my room seemed like a hotel, a closer look reveals a track in the ceiling for a pulley that can lift immobilized elders out of bed. In the bathroom there’s a hand shower with a drain making showering, with help, available for even the severely handicapped.

Short term rehab visitors recovering from an illnesses or surgery are giving the setting and the care raves.

Congratulations to JKV for delivering a better world for elders needing custodial care.

Congratulations, too, for the careful and well rehearsed emergency plan for Hurricane Matthew. Independent and needy residents were all be professionally handled. Even getting everyone back home when it was safe was done efficiently. My compliments to management and staff.

Phyllis J. Neuberger, resident of JKV