Somerby “Move In” Experience Recap
Over the weekend, I tried to come up with one word that would summarize my brief “move-in” to Somerby at St. Vincents 119 last week.
That word is “joy”!
You expected “first-class” or “deluxe” for the accommodations? Or maybe, you thought I would find it a sterile, institutional environment.
I felt joy radiating from the people. from almost everyone I encountered, from the residents to the cooks to the fitness coaches to the food staff and the housekeeping staff. People were simply happy to be at Somerby, and it showed.
The residents were welcoming, inviting me to share meals and stories with them. They proudly told me their ages and bragged about their adult children, grandchildren and, in many cases, great grandchildren living nearby.
Somerby talks about helping people “discover their spark.” For retirees who have had full and successful careers, how vitally important is it that they still feel productive? Somerby encourages their initiatives and involves them in planning and running the activities, if they are so inclined. There’s a social committee. There’s a movie committee which sets up the weekly movie nights. There’s a group for knitters–or people who want to learn to knit and the group is run by residents. Every week, fresh flowers are delivered, and the residents who volunteer help design and execute the gorgeous bouquets throughout the building. There’s a even a small resident-run supply store where you can pick up such necessities as shampoo, should you run out in between shopping trips.
” I’m not really an artist; I’m a teacher, ” announced resident Roene. “I was just interested in doing art, and I thought there were other people who would like to do it with me.” Not only did she launch a very successful painting class, where she encouraged my amateur attempts to paint irises in water-color, she also saw a need for a Greeting Card Project to recycle birthday and holiday cards for the people who attend her church’s soup kitchen. Roene felt so strongly about this project that she applied for and received a small grant from The Thrivent Foundation.
Would you like a field trip to see blooming tulips at American Village? Just sign up and get on the bus! Do you like puzzles? There are always a couple of people “exercising their brains, ” as they told me, in the Puzzle Room.
Speaking of exercise, you can work out at the fitness room at Somerby, or across the parking lot on the campus is one of the area’s largest and best-appointed fitness facilities, St. Vincent’s One Nineteen. I participated in a fun and exhilarating water aerobics class. I was so sorry that my schedule did not allow me to participate in another popular class-SAIL™ (Stay Active & Independent for Life). This class for older adults includes aerobics, balance exercises, strength training with wrist and ankle weights and stretching exercises.
There’s so much joy and life at Somerby.
Of course, I was impressed by the physical facility. I loved seeing the charming personal decor in the doorways of the residents. The individual one-bedroom apartment that I stayed included a full kitchen, a roomy bathroom and even a stackable washer/ dryer!
The little touches, like extra-wide doorways to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs, and large easy-to-read thermostat dials for controlling heat/ air are thoughtfully planned.
There’s always fresh-brewed O’Henry’s coffee for residents and guests in the spacious lobby.
Food is a big part of quality of life, and Somerby has invested here, by hiring chefs with a country club background and offering both full white-tablecloth service or buffet options. On my first day here, we enjoyed a cooking demo and an amazing lunch of rack of lamb, with polenta and lightly sautéed greens. Of course, I know that’s not every-day fare; the dinners offered a variety of choices and the breakfast bar rivaled many restaurants.
If you or your parent(s) are considering Senior Living, either independent living or assisted living, I do strongly suggest that you set up a “test drive” like mine, with an overnight stay. It was a valuable experience in so many ways, and I treasure the spark I felt at Somerby and the wonderful residents and staff whom I met.
In the spirit of full disclosure, B-Metro: The Magazine of Metro Birmingham Living did receive compensation for this promotion, but my opinions are my own.
Friends, I am still processing my “test drive” of Somerby at St. Vincents 119, and I will post a more thorough recap of my entire stay in the upcoming days. On my last morning here, I was able to participate in a water aerobics class at their sister facility St. Vincent’s One Nineteen. Everyone who lives at Somerby has free membership here, and the facility is first-rate, along with the instructors. Add to that the easy access to physicians in the Wellness Center and the new St. Vincent’s One-Nineteen Urgent Care, and you have a dynamic combo for fitness and medical wellness. The physical plant is excellent. But what really stands out to me is the people–both the residents and the staff. I will be talking more about them in my final recap. For now, I will simply say, “Thank you!” It was an opportunity I will always cherish.
End of Day One at Somerby
End of my first day “test-driving” independent living at Somerby at St. Vincents 119 and what a fabulous day it was! Great company at dinner, meeting people from all over. They even served a sugar-free cake for dessert. The residents here are so busy. Some of them put together the live flower arrangements brightening up the space. They have started a knitting group. And there’s a movie committee which organized tonight’s viewing of The Graduate. I’m looking forward to breakfast tomorrow and a water aerobics class at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen, just across the parking lot from this residence. Follow along onB-Metro: The Magazine of Metro Birmingham Living Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #followyourspark
I thought I was at a 5-Star restaurant! Fabulous lunch at Somerby at St. Vincents 119 with a special cooking demo by the head chef. We enjoyed rack of lamb encrusted with a crust of garlic, cajun mustard and basil, served with a wedge of polenta and lightly sautéed escarole. Of course, first I worked up an appetite doing Senior Strength Exercise class. Fortunately, for my stress fractured foot, it was mostly chair-based. And I happened upon some people exercising their brains in the puzzle room. There’s always something going on here! My 2 lunchtime companions are 95 and 98. From here, they are going to Tai Chi! In case you missed it, I’m test-driving independent living at Somerby today. Follow along in B-Metro: The Magazine of Metro Birmingham Living Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Good morning! I’ve checked in to Somerby at St. Vincents 119 for a full day of blogging to test drive this gorgeous independent living facility. And I’ve been greeted with some sweet surprises– welcome trays of fruit and cheeses and trail mix, a lovely one bedroom suite with full-size kitchen and my OWN stackable washer/ dryer! It’s a busy day full of activities. First up, painting class. Follow along with me at B-Metro: The Magazine of Metro Birmingham Living on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
“Moving In” to Somerby
Friends, I am “moving” into Somerby at St. Vincents 119 next week! 🙂
A few years ago,Irwin Fingerman and I chose an independent living community for his mother who was resettling to Birmingham. At the time, we were in “crisis mode,” and it was a stressful, emotional time. If you have been in this position with aging parents, you know what I mean.
So when the opportunity came for me to move in to Somerby for a 24-hour “test drive” in a senior living community apartment, I jumped at the chance! And I am really looking forward to it.
On Tuesday morning, March 28, immediately after I “move in,” I will participate in a painting class, followed by a cooking class, tai chi and a movie night (Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid). How fun is that?
So the move is on–to a beautiful independent living apartment in a congenial community, in a gorgeous setting, with chef-created meals and a plethora of activities, just minutes from my home and convenient to all the shopping on 280.
I’ll report on my observations through B-Metro: The Magazine of Metro Birmingham Living‘s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms. I’d love for you to follow along and like, comment or share. We test drive cars; why not test drive independent living– without crisis-mode pressure? For those of us with aging parents (or for those of us who are getting older ourselves), being informed about our options can only ease these transitions.
In the spirit of full disclosure, B-Metro is receiving compensation for this promotion, but all opinions are strictly my own.