The Willows at Tiffin to open its doors

Assisted living quarters at the Willows can be furnished, as shown, or residents can bring their own furniture and decor. 

The holidays are approaching, but the Willows at Tiffin has its own reason to celebrate right now — the opening of its new senior living facility, just off U.S. Rt. 224 at 410 Fair Lane.

A ribbon cutting is slated for 4-6 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 20) followed by a public open house 1-3 p.m. Nov. 24. Janelle Ray, community services representative, guided The Advertiser-Tribune through the building and explained some of the options being offered.

Although the state survey has yet to finalize the license of occupancy, Ray said they expect the first two residents to move in by the end of November. In assisted living, every accommodation already is reserved.

“We’re starting our waiting list there, but we still have openings in our health center and memory care,” Ray added.

The Legacy Lane memory care unit can house 16 patients. Ray said the Willows is training the staff to employ the Daily Rhythms program, which provides structured activities geared to the individuals’ preferences. Residents with dementia also will have outings in The Willows’ van.

Ray said the memory care staff also are certified in the “best friend” program. Families complete a questionnaire that lists their loved ones’ favorite foods, names of spouses and family members, and residents’ special interests. Staff members refer to the information as they care for each dementia patient.

The health center includes long-term nursing home care and short-term “rehab-to-home” beds. Ray said Paragon is the company providing rehabilitation therapy. Therapy director Holly Peterson is to move from the Fremont campus to Tiffin, as the number of clients rises.

Two rounds of hiring have been completed, and training has begun. Ray said a third round is to start when the first residents move in. Once the building is in full operation, it is to employ about 125 employees, 70 percent of which will be full time.

Whittney Podach, RN, and Shelly Moore, director and assistant director of Health Services (respectively), have conducted more than 200 interviews each, thus far. Gregory Rippon, Director of Food Service, said he has been on the job since October 1, to order and receive supplies and organize the kitchen.

Centrally located, the kitchen is accessible to all dining areas. It is adjacent to the main dining room, which is the site of special events such as a monthly family brunch. Families also can reserve a private dining room for gatherings and meals. Food is to be served restaurant-style with open dining times.

“Whenever our residents get up … they can come down and get breakfast,” Ray said.

The four halls leading into the central dining area are named for the four schools in Tiffin: Berg Hall, Tiffin Lane, Columbian Court and Seneca Avenue. Ray said the names were adopted as suggested during a Facebook contest. In addition, photos of local landmarks decorate many of the halls and common areas.

The Walliser-Kinn Parlor has a small kitchen for cooking classes and preparing snacks for Friday happy hours and other festivities. A wall there pays tribute to the former landowners with a display of vintage photographs and a special door.

“Walliser-Kinn was the family that owned the farmland, so we named the parlor after them. They donated to us their barn door,” Ray explained.

In the recreation room, residents can choose from a variety of activities, such as yoga, painting, cardio drumming, crafts, educational presentations, church services, bible studies and other requested programs. The van will carry residents on outings three days a week, Ray noted.

“We will have activities seven days a week. They will usually start at 10 a.m. and go until about 7 in the evening,” she said.

In pleasant weather, residents can enjoy five gated, outdoor courtyards. In common areas, televisions are to carry Life Share broadcasts featuring announcements, activity schedules and photos of residents. A hair salon is to have regular hours so residents can receive manicures and pedicures or get their hair done.

Ray said a podiatrist, audiologist, dentist and optometrist will come in once a week for residents who need those services but may not want to travel to get them. People can work out in the exercise room, and a laundry room is available for assisted living residents who want to do their own laundry.

“Usually, when our assisted living patients move in, we have therapy work with them a little bit, look at their accommodations and see if they can make any recommendations to keep them as independent as possible,” Ray said.

Clients’ living quarters are available in a standard style, two-bedroom arrangements and more spacious deluxe suites. Ray said each is fully furnished, but residents also can bring in their own items. Each unit has its own thermostat and an accessible private bathroom.

For more details, visit www.willowsattiffin.com or call (419) 443-0059.