“Country cottage” style impresses residents, family members, and staff at rehabilitation and skilled nursing community
[Byron, IL] – Every year, the Byron High School Homecoming Parade stops at Generations at Neighbors. Students break ranks to greet residents, who also happen to be their family members, friends, and neighbors.
Generations at Neighbors rehabilitation and skilled nursing community has deep roots in Byron (88 miles west of Chicago), known as a “modern urban community with a friendly rural character.”
The Generations at Neighbors facility, however, had not changed much since it was built in the mid-’70s. Dark brown brick did not align with the organization’s reputation for care and strong relationships. Inside, the facility needed a refresh, along with more space for its growing resident population. Generations at Neighbors and Legat Architects undertook a journey to expand and revive the aging facility.
Kirsten Schloss, VP of Physical Plant and Dietary Services at Generations Healthcare Network, said, “We wanted to create a warm, home-like environment that would welcome families and respect the regional culture.”
After 17 months of construction, the Generations at Neighbors facility reemerged as a model for sophisticated care with a nod to that “friendly rural character.” The projects, highlighted by a new short-term rehab wing, include over 27,000 square feet of additions and 27,000 square feet of renovations designed by Legat and built by Landmark Construction.
A new entry with a drop-off canopy and lighter siding creates a more welcoming look. Inside, a “country cottage” theme greets residents and guests. Blue and white drywall, light stone, beadboard, and rural artwork cover the old cinder block walls. On the corridor floors, luxury vinyl tile with a rustic wood look replaces the old brown, yellow, orange, and green VCT tiles. Generations at Neighbors now also offers residents two landscaped courtyards with paths, benches, and trees.
“The expansion and remodel have improved quality of life for residents and enhanced staff morale,” said Schloss. “Additionally, it’s a great place for family members and friends to visit. There’s a real community feel.”
A Home Away from Home
Changes are apparent as soon as you walk in. The main entry, once a cramped area with few seating options, has transformed into a living room with bookshelves, a fireplace, and plenty of comfortable seating. It even has a skylight. Residents can also get a coffee and meet with family members in the new ice cream parlor/internet café. A resident-staffed country store offers everything from snacks to stamps and envelopes.
Residents once waited in their rooms to use the salon because it had no waiting area. Today, a new beauty salon—it’s four times the size of the old one—offers a spacious waiting area and separate hair drying and washing stations.
The renovated core also includes a larger caregiver station and another community area with large light fixtures and historic photos of regional highlights (e.g., landscapes, barns).
The renovated main dining room with new furniture doubles as a large activity space. Inviting stone and brick replace the old wood plank wall.
New Short-term Rehab Unit
Community members who underwent a hip or knee replacement had limited options for comfortable recovery places. Thanks to the Generations at Neighbors’ largest addition, they now have such a place.
In the new short-term rehab wing, residents get readjusted to everyday life. For instance, the “rehab room” includes a simulation kitchen, grocery store aisle, and bedroom for training. The wing also includes a large physical therapy space and a smaller private dining room for the wing’s residents.
Thirty beds in the short-term rehab wing include 8 semi-private and 14 private rooms. All rooms have large private bathrooms and showers, a bar area with a refrigerator and microwave, and a sitting area for visitors.
Expanded/Renovated Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Unit
An addition to the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care wing brings an activity zone with kitchen, dining room, and lounge, as well as a gated courtyard.
In the revived resident rooms, drywall covers the old concrete blocks. Windows display activity on neighboring ballfields, which are often illuminated at night. Each room has three white walls and a “Blue Willow” accent wall, along with a remodeled bathroom.
A Peaceful Place
Generations at Neighbors conducted a survey to measure family members’ reactions to the improvements.
Schloss said, “The responses were overwhelmingly positive; respondents consistently praised the facility as clean, spacious, and welcoming.”
One respondent, after an extensive search for a skilled nursing facility for her mother, decided on the newly revived Generations at Neighbors. “It’s a peaceful place for my mom to be,” she wrote. “It doesn’t feel like a facility. It’s just so beautiful.”
View Oakton Pavillion renovations, another collaboration between Generations Healthcare Network and Legat Architects.
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