America’s senior citizen ambassador helps to open Gloucester’s Heron Cove
Who better to usher in an exciting new phase in senior living than the man who has become synonymous with America’s senior citizens, especially those celebrating their 100th birthdays?
NBC Today Show personality Willard Scott was in Gloucester Court House on Saturday to welcome members of the community to Heron Cove at Sanders, Riverside Health System’s ground-breaking new concept in long-term living designed to restore independence to seniors.
Scott, known to many for his birthday wishes to centenarians, charmed the crowd of about 200+ who attended the preview day ceremony, chatting with the audience about his early TV and radio days, his trademark birthday salutes, and his respect and love for America’s senior citizens, of which he is a proud member.
He was also on hand to talk about Heron Cove, which will open to residents next month. "This new facility, what a marvelous concept," Scott said. "It’s a wonderful thing."
Housed in two buildings on the Sanders campus off Main Street, the residences will provide long-term care for 40 seniors (each home has 20 rooms), replacing the more than 50-year-old nursing home nearby. Unlike traditional nursing home facilities, which have a series of wings anchored by nursing stations, Heron Cove is designed more like a traditional home. Walking in the building, residents and guests enter the cozy living room and then the spacious kitchen/dining facility, which forms the heart of the house.
"The bottom line is we’re trying to make a difference in people’s lives," said F. Michael Martin, senior vice president of Riverside Health System’s Lifelong Health Division. "Today, we stop using the words ‘nursing home’ and we start using the words ‘my house.’"
"Everyone’s part of the same family," said Rudy Heinatz, executive director of Riverside Sanders Retirement Community, with workers and residents living side by side. "Anyone can take care of a resident’s need at any time," Heinatz said.