Home Firm Profile People Services Portfolio Awards News Careers Contact

MGA News

Rose Villa emphasized rich social connections

The Oregonian

August 29th 2013

Encouraging and facilitating health and well-being is not a new concept at Rose Villa Senior Living Community, but enhancements are underway that will serve to establish this non-profit as an innovative leader in helping its residents enjoy a fulfilling life and lifestyle. Improvements range from a complete transformation of the core of its 22 acres to a fresh approach to restaurant dining for residents and visitors.

At the direction of Rose Villa staff and with input from residents, Myhre Group Architects designed the central site overhaul to create a true neighborhood feel. The upcoming project includes the construction of a town square, two mixed-use buildings with 55+ apartments, dining areas and a fitness center. The layout will provide walking paths throughout the neighborhood and gardens, and encourage walking to community amenities.

"We're building this pocket neighborhood, unique in the Northwest, consciously, and with purpose. We'll have more community space so people can connect with each other, which helps people feel more centered and part of something," said Rose Villa CEO Vassar Byrd.

Groundbreaking for the $30 million revamp is anticipated for early next year, and completion is slated for 2015. 1960s-era housing will be torn down, and 76 new homes will be built as replacements. This project is the first phase of plans to remodel this entire senior living community, which will be home to 350 people. Rose Villa currently has a population of 192.

Byrd notes that the community upgrade is really just the outside of Rose Villa catching up with the inside.

"People think a senior living community is about the buildings, and certainly, our physical plant is older, and it's time for some enhancements," Byrd said. "But what is most important in a community like this is what is on the inside: how our community members and staff interact, the friendship and concern for others that live here. Our residents live healthier, longer lives because they have meaningful social contact."

Residents agree. "It's a community, and we love each other," said resident Charlotte Robinson about life at Rose Villa in a recent interview on Community Hotline.

In addition to improved physical amenities for an enhanced lifestyle, a recently reconfigured restaurant and an emphasis on made-from-scratch food and locally sourced meat and produce serves to provide residents a healthy approach to eating.

"And dangerously wonderful desserts," Byrd noted, although she was quick to add, tongue-in-cheek, "They're healthy, of course!"

Food and Beverage Director Steven Brower is focusing his creative energy and talent on more customized meals made to order for residents.

"Diners are regulars," Brower said, "So we like to offer them choices, and to get their meals the way they like."

"Aside from catering to individual desires, in general we are working to provide a richer, more interesting array of foods," Brower said.

In addition to buying food from several area farms, Rose Villa has a community garden tended by resident volunteers, providing a significant volume of vegetables for Rose Villa's restaurant.

"Our residents grow herbs, tomatoes, corn and more. Rose Villa residents hold an open air market every Tuesday during the growing season because there is so much excess, and the proceeds go to the Rose Villa Foundation," Byrd said.

Byrd's passion for Rose Villa is evident in her enthusiasm.

"People are able to live longer independently, because they have more energy for creative pursuits when they don't have the responsibility of maintaining a large home, and they get to do what they want, when they want," Byrd said.

"Some people who live here appear to get younger," she said.

Byrd's comments were corroborated during a recent visit to Rose Villa, when a thin, tanned, shirtless male resident in his 70s zoomed up on his nonmotorized Razor-style scooter. He stopped for a chat with Rose Villa staff member Debra Adrian and then pushed off to his destination.

"Come to the concert in the garden tonight," he hollered as he whizzed down the path.

"Yes," said Adrian, "People here have a great time."