Discovering a New Chapter;
Finding a New Home: Life Enrichment
With a nod toward that infamous quip from America’s favorite humorist Mark Twain, all the rumors of the demise of the Tall Oaks Village Center are greatly exaggerated!
Framed by signature tall oaks, towering and welcoming at the end of the parking lot stands the 5-story, 157-room Tall Oaks Assisted Living Community (TOAL). Built in 1989, TOAL was recently named one of the Top 25 Assisted Living facilities in Virginia by Assisted Living Today magazine. Walking into the lobby is not unlike a visit to the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Town Center.
TOAL is managed by The Coordinated Service Management Company based in Roanoke, Virginia. The Coordinated Services Management family of assisted living homes are found all over Virginia, Maryland and DC. But behind the sparkling wall sconces, classy wall coverings and carpet, there are palpable sounds one does not normally associate with assisted living communities. These are the engaging sounds of seniors enjoying life.
As I was waiting to meet Yvonne Reese, the center’s director of community relations, I could overhear a lively discussion in progress worthy of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory or the Johnson Space Center. Spilling out of the large, light-filled living room the residents were participating in an energetic discussion about NASA and the American space program by TOAL Activities Director Jocelyn Jackson. A TOAL veteran of 16 years, Jackson loves her work, known as “life enrichment.”
Reese explains that the TOAL staff – many have been here an average of a dozen years – work hard at defeating the common myths connected with long term care. She explains the Tall Oaks answer to aging centers on hominess (comfortably informal and inviting; cozy; homelike), quality nursing, stimulating activities, a delicious culinary experience and friendliness of staff.
Feel Right at Home: core mission
A tour of the building convinced me that the mission was being accomplished in a fulfilling way. Every inch of the building’s well designed spaces have meaning – spacious and gracious dining rooms, studios, one and two bedroom apartments (where one brings their own furniture & possessions from home), a bistro for 24/7 snacking, activity rooms for baking, games, arts and crafts, a movie theatre, full library, sunrooms and garden terrace, patios, a fitness center, community room for parties, light-filled living spaces on each floor, salon and barber shop, inviting hallways, and even a chapel.
As she guides me through the center, Reese greets every resident we meet with a cheery, “Hello, John, or Helen, you look great today!” She knows them all, and each greeting is always followed by a hug. Reese wants to make sure that everyone feels at home.
“At Tall Oaks, we recognize that selecting a residence is just the first step in creating a home,” Reese tells me. “We recognize what it means to leave the comfort and familiarity of the home and surroundings that one has known for decades. It is a huge emotional adjustment! So, understanding this, the core of our program planning is to creatively compensate for the loss and anticipate the anxiety.”
“Adjusting to this life change is the single-most important focus of our work and our reason for being,” Reese tells me. “That’s why we design such diverse activities throughout the day for all levels of participation. Executive Chef Robert McKeon provides our guests with three very special meals a day.”
In addition, TOAL provides weekly housekeeping and linen service, a state-of-the-art emergency call response system, and is home to a highly skilled nursing team dedicated to excellence in senior care and led by licensed professional nurses who are on-site and available 24 hours a day. A concierge is on duty every day from 7am to 8pm.
Other TOAL hospitality and wellness services include: social, recreational, cultural and religious activities, wellness programs, RN consultation, customized plans of care, medication administration, assistance with activities of daily living, on-site medical center with visiting physicians and an on-site therapy suite (physical, occupational and speech). There is also mini-bus transportation for scheduled local outings and complimentary concierge transportation service to destinations of your choice.
Your New Home
Fun activities and yummy meals help the adjustment to your new home. Reese showed me the model homes that range from a private studio, to a spacious one bedroom, to a two bedroom suite. There are also deluxe studios and one bedrooms. Generous, sun-filled spaces, and just like the cacophony of activities, true to the TOAL core mission.
Reese explains that the cost for this total TOAL experience depends on the level of care and the size of apartment desired.
For more information or to schedule a tour, contact Tall Oaks directly at 703.834.9800.
A Recipe for Sheer Enjoyment
To dispel a sense of loneliness, the TOAL staff stirs up a recipe for sheer enjoyment. A typical weekly activity sheet from the April website speaks volumes:
Easy Does It Trivia
Story Behind the News
Yoga with Kevin
11:30 am–1:00 pm
Lunch in the Dining Room
Lunch Outing to residents’