While George Vanderbilt's renowned Biltmore House at Asheville's Biltmore Estate boasts “four of the most fascinating acres…under one roof,” the administrators and staff of nearby Givens Estates proudly proclaim that their CCRC campus features eight of the most caring acres under one roof.
The philosophy of this United Methodist Retirement Community—upgraded and expanded in 2005 to include the 355,250-sq.-ft. (eight-acre) Oxford Commons, 137 independent living apartments above the Commons, 59 cottages (in three different designs), and 48 renovated apartments—emphasizes six facets of wellness: physical, intellectual, social, emotional, vocational, and spiritual.
The amenities offered on the campus go a long way in supporting the Givens wellness philosophy. These include a library, a chapel (converted from the former dining room), a bank, a computer lab, a billiards room, a business center, and space for pottery, painting, games, and other activities. Indoor and outdoor dining areas—including a formal dining room, private dining, a café/bistro that offers “à la minute” cooking services, and a terrace for alfresco dining—give residents ample dining choices. Movable dividers in the main dining room provide the flexibility to reconfigure the room for various events.
Oxford Commons also houses the Wellness Center, which features an indoor pool and extensive exercise equipment. Fitness programs, some of which take place outside on the wellness terrace, include yoga and tai chi.
The Performing Arts Center, which seats 350 people, is equipped with audiovisual equipment and can be used for plays, concerts, meetings, book fairs, art shows, and dances.
The CCRC's expansion and renovation included a shift from the old institutional model to a state-of-the-art community featuring short corridors, a wireless personal-assistance resident-call system that residents can activate indoors and out, and apartments with kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms designed to be retrofitted to accommodate aging residents' changing needs. Home health services are available to apartment residents.
During project planning, residents were consulted regarding their color preferences for the interiors. The result was a rich palette of natural rusts, greens, and yellows. Wallcoverings and fabrics have a vintage flair, and pottery, photography, and a soothing indoor wall fountain—all created by local artisans—add to the facility's Arts and Crafts ambience.
Natural light fills the buildings, and residents are connected to nature by the abundant stone and wood interior finishes, as well as the views of the Pisgah Mountains and the bubbling brook that runs through the property.
Perhaps Givens Estates can't match Biltmore House's 65 fireplaces and multimillion-dollar art collection, but its attractive architecture and interiors fit perfectly within the regional vernacular. And potential residents needn't have the wealth of a Vanderbilt to live on this “estate”; options include modestly priced HUD housing and affordable assisted living units, Medicare/Medicaid-licensed skilled nursing beds, and dementia care beds. In all, the community can accommodate a total of 800 residents.