Westminster—Canterbury Richmond (WCR), a well-respected 32-year-old continuing care retirement community, was facing the challenges of a rapidly changing marketplace. Looking to provide new residential products at every level, a campus expansion was completed in 2006, which included new living spaces for residents in independent, assisted living, and memory support, increasing WCR's resident population to more than 850. “In addition,” says Don Lecky, WCR's president/CEO, “We enhanced our Child Development Center and our new Cultural and Creative Arts Center boasts a Performing Arts Theater that seats 335.” Through these venues, WCR offers its residents and the community enhanced services and creative and cultural opportunities.
“Our redesigned living environments are spacious so residents do not experience downsizing, which make the transition easier,” says Lecky. The memory support area, called “The Gables,” has expanded that program to six households of 12 apartments each. All of the households open out to a beautiful private garden specifically designed for people with memory impairments, incorporating different types of gardens with brick walkways, a water feature, and a terraced vegetable garden. “This atmosphere makes it easy to involve residents in art, music, and horticultural activities,” he adds.
“A full instructional kitchen was added to the Child Development Center,” says Bill King, WCR vice-president. “It has a full galley with kid-sized chairs and age-appropriate kitchenware,” he adds. Children are taught how to prepare simple snacks like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Lecky is pleased that the kitchen has added to the intergenerational opportunities at the center. “Here, residents can cook and bake for the children. And the children love it!” The Child Development Center enrollment is open to children of staff members and the surrounding community.
The centerpiece of the Cultural and Creative Arts Center is the Sara Belle November Theater, which was specifically designed for older adults with excellent sightlines and acoustics. Comfortable seats and easily accessible aisles and rows also add to safety and comfort. “We've had a variety of performances held here—from the Vienna Choir Boys to the Glenn Miller Orchestra, along with ballet, symphony, and theater programs,” says Lecky. Residents eagerly volunteer to help out throughout the center, whether it is in the theater, the arts studio, or the woodworking shop which residents helped design and outfit.
WCR is licensed to serve alcoholic beverages in its lounge area. Now, residents can celebrate special occasions and entertainment on the weekends. They often invite their friends in the community to join in the fun. “This is a wonderful way to introduce potential applicants to WCR,” says King. Alumni groups get together for a “happy hour.” Staff brought in a piano and they had a great time singing old favorites and the college fight song.
Located in the center of the WCR campus, the Cultural and Creative Arts Center is accessible to everyone. “It's a geographic focal point and a ‘front door’ to the community,” adds King.