The impressive retirement living center is called Emeritus at Willow Ridge and, during the past 20 years, it has made a tremendous difference in how senior citizens in the McCook area spend their Golden Years.
"I'm so very, very proud to be part of Emeritus at Willow Ridge," says the executive director, Linda Dixon. "There's such a family feeling here. You see it and you feel it every day. We have wonderful residents and a great staff. Together, they're making life what it should be: a special, shared experience."
The development was born more than a quarter of a century ago. It came into being when a group of forward-looking McCookites gathered together to find better ways to provide retirement living accommodations for senior citizens in Red Willow County and the surrounding region.
Willow Ridge Retirement Village was the result of their efforts, with the grand opening taking place 20 years ago -- in 1993.
From that beginning -- led by the Larmon family -- the retirement living center has steadily increased in size, with the village now offering 57 independent apartments and 34 assisted living rooms for a grand total of 91 living spaces. With new carpeting throughout and new furnishings and wall decor in the commons area -- all installed in 2012 -- the center looks like new as it begins its anniversary celebration.
Guided through the early years by Craig Larmon, Willow Ridge later became associated with the Sun West group and, then, most recently, became a part of Emeritus, a national company. "We are privileged to be a part of the Emeritus team," Dixon said. "With Emeritus leading the way, we are committed to making a difference in people's lives by providing service of the highest quality and value."
That -- more than any other single thing -- is what stands out in Dixon's mind about the Emeritus at Willow Ridge experience.
"I've been here five years, and during that time, what has touched me the most is when residents' loved ones tell me, 'Mom and Dad have blossomed since they've been here. They're back to their old selves again. We wish we would have encouraged them to move sooner.'"
So what is it that sets Emeritus at Willow Ridge apart?
Let's count the ways. The many, many ways.
"As a member of the Willow Ridge family we are committed to our residents by working together, being good listeners, taking pride in the appearance of Willow Ridge, being responsive to family choices and to exceeding expectations to make a difference in people's everyday lives." said Holly Olson, the Community Relations Director.
There are three life style options at Willow Ridge:
RETIREMENT LIVING offers a safe, secure and social environment for active independent seniors;
ASSISTED LIVING offers help with everyday activities personalized to meet one's needs. Willow Ridge provides six levels of care;
SHORT STAYS are also an option. This is a 30-day stay allowing one to experience living at Willow Ridge or for a temporary recovery until you are on your feet again.
No matter which option is chosen, there are a host of conveniences available, starting with the fact that Emeritus at Willow Ridge is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Each and every day, residents are provided three meals a day.
And -- on top of the daily meals -- the residents have an abundance of other amenities to choose from, including a fitness and swim spa, a popcorn / ice cream parlor, a movie room, an on-site beauty shop, a sun room, a guest room and computer access.
Residents also enjoy spacious commons areas, including the library, living room, recreational areas, the courtyard and gazebo.
The family feeling at Emeritus at Willow Ridge is fostered by a host of activities, such as the Fall Festival which will take place Sunday, October 6th. "It will be a lot of fun," Olson said. "We will invite the McCook community to come share this special time with us. There will be live music on the grounds and a lot of other fun things to do."
Other special events take place throughout the year, including celebrations for holidays and many specially planned occasions. "Cruise Week is an example. We had a Captain's Dinner, set up casino tables and hosted an Hawaiian luau complete with leis for everyone," Olson said.
Don't drive? Don't worry, Emeritus at Willow Ridge has a van and bus available for residents. A full time transportation driver provides for scheduled appontments and shopping throughout the town.
The list goes on and on. Emeritus at Willow Ridge makes a simple promise to all who make their home in the comfortable attractive apartments and suites which stand side-by-side amid the beautifully landscaped five-acre campus:
"To all our residents we make a simple promise: a promise to be compassionate and kind, understanding and respectful; a promise to become extended family to the seniors entrusted in our care and to the retirees who have chosen our community for its active lifestyle."
The Emeritus statement of purpose says it best: "Our Family is Committed to Yours. These are more than words. This is the deeply held belief shared by all Emeritus employees. It is our commitment to make a positive difference in the lives of the people we serve by fostering an atmosphere of community -- a sense of place and belonging, of home."
More information is available at their web site: www.emeritus.com