Like Living In The Jefferson
Sam Brown, the concierge at HeartFields Assisted Living, greets everyone who enters the building while she mans the phones and answers questions from residents and visitors alike. She has an easy manner, this Sam Brown, and is a careful listener with the ability to solve problems even before they occur. As Jeremy Young, HeartFields’ marketing director, enters the reception area, he says: “Sam is the eyes and ears and everything of this place. She’s a very calming presence.”
When you enter this elegantly appointed six-story building on Allen Avenue in the heart of Richmond’s Fan District you can see Lee mounted on Traveler just to the south and a deep green awning caps the entrance below the white marble block that bears the legend SHENANDOAH, which was the original name of this luxury apartment building which opened in the very early years of the 20th century.
At the time the Shenandoah was constructed, much of the area was covered in tobacco fields, the Fan had not yet been fully laid out and there were few houses in the vicinity. In short order the homes were built that makes this one of Richmond’s hallmark neighborhoods.
“The residents who come here love it and a lot of them had lived in the Fan their whole lives, or worked in the Fan and they want to stay where they know and it’s a safe area right off Allen Avenue,” says Jeremy.
In all there are 55 residences at HeartFields, all assisted living. On staff to insure the comfort and well-being of the residents there are nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses and medical technologists and they work around the clock. “Twenty-four seven, three sixty-five,” says Jeremy.
We walk through the private dining room which is filled with cloth draped tables. “During the fall and spring, when the weather is nice, we have beautiful outdoor seating as well,” Jeremy tells me. It’s like an outdoor bistro and the residents absolutely love it.
Each of the apartments here features its own full bath along with a refrigerator. The deluxe apartments include large bay windows with stained glass accents that giving sweeping views of the Fan. Microwaves can also be used in the rooms, but only if the executive director signs off on it.
During the course of the interview Jeremy frequently reminds me that the residences here are more than apartments. “The thing I try to impress on people is that these apartments are their homes,” he says. “The rooms can be painted any color they want. They bring in their own furniture and artwork and make these places their own. We’re also pet friendly. Moving from independent to assisted living can be a very traumatic transition. And we try to make it as easy as possible.”
We visit several of the apartments and each one is a perfect example of historic preservation where contemporary amenities merge seamlessly with architectural detail. “It’s an old but charming building that was painstakingly renovated,” says Jeremy. “There’s a lot of rich history here.” So rich, in fact, that HeartFields is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since the massive renovation of the old Shenandoah back in 1999 Heartfields has consistently won kudos as a premier senior assisted living retirement community.
Which is no wonder since Heartfields Assisted Living at Richmond is owned by Five Star Senior Living, a national healthcare and senior living provider. This company consistently goes above and beyond government requirements and offers a long list of special services, along with flexibility, choices, and a variety of funding options, including a rent-based pricing structure with no up-front buy-in fees required.
Jeremy says this community offers five different levels of care. “Residents are assessed as to what level of care best suits them,” he says. These levels can include personal care such as dressing and grooming, monitoring of health, safety, and overall well-being, coordination of outside health care providers, assistance with medication, companionship, and more. The objective is straightforward enough: giving assisted living residents the opportunity to live in their own private apartment with the support and services they need, while allowing them to be as independent and active as possible.
HeartFields also offers short-term stays—a minimum of 30 days—for seniors who need care after a hospital stay, or when family members travel out of town or simply need a short respite break from the stresses of caregiving. And short-term guests enjoy all the amenities of full-time residents from housekeeping services and dining, to community activities and transportation, as well as coordination of any necessary medical care and help with daily living activities.
Activities abound at HeartFields. There are exercise and wellness classes, art programs, group games such as Bingo, religious services and weekly outings aboard HeartFields own bus.
We walk through the main entrance out onto the sidewalk on Allen Avenue and Jeremy folds his arms and looks up, his eyes climbing the six stories of the old Shenandoah.
“What I say every day is I work in their home,” Jeremy says. “I don’t come to an office every day. I work in their home and that needs to be respected. I like to think that our residents live in a beautiful hotel so it’s similar to living in the Jefferson every day.”
HeartFields Assisted Living at Richmond
501 North Allen Avenue
Richmond, VA 23220