Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


St. George Village Offers Some Assisted Living Spaces

By SUZANNE HAUGH, Special Contributor | Published April 20, 2006

While a waiting list exists for apartments in the independent living area of the newly opened St. George Village, a unique opportunity exists for a limited number of individuals to move directly into its assisted living and memory support areas.

Residents are being sought to move directly into Wellington Court, the two-story assisted living area of St. George Village, a retirement community built under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

“It is really a small window of opportunity,” said Stacy Gass, assistant administrator and marketing director.

Those who move directly into Wellington Court will be able to later move, if necessary, to the skilled nursing care area of St. George Village.

St. George Village is owned by Catholic Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Inc., and is being managed by Wesley Woods, Inc. It is open to both Catholics and the general public and has a religiously diverse group of charter residents.

An estimated $50 million project, St. George Village has 153 one- and two-bedroom independent living units, including 10 reserved for retired priests of the archdiocese. The complex also has 25 assisted living units, a skilled nursing care area with 15 private rooms and the capacity to add 15 more, and 14 residences in a memory-support section. A limited number of openings exist for persons who qualify for the assisted living and memory-support areas.

The director of nursing, Crystal Chin, has spent 14 years in long-term care with an emphasis in Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“I’m excited about being at this new community—especially starting up a continuing care community that offers three levels of care.”

The progression of care creates a new model with many benefits.

“You see a lot of free-standing assisted living and memory support facilities, but to be able to offer all that in one (facility) is great, especially for couples.”

Seldom will couples need the same level of care at the same time as they age.

“The concept is very unique. Couples can remain in the same facility, can eat meals together and are involved in the same activities. They can spend quality time together even if they are in different environments based on what their needs are. Residents who live here may live in different areas but still share the same common area. There is integration of those in the different levels of care.”

Services and amenities available at Wellington Court include access to a full continuum of care (assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing), medication monitoring and supervision, a 24-hour emergency response system, and access to rehabilitative services (physical, speech and occupational). Residents dine restaurant-style at three meals a day. An on-site lifestyle coordinator schedules social, educational, recreational, spiritual and cultural activities. A beauty salon and barbershop are on the premises, and residents receive personal laundry service, weekly housekeeping and linen service, and have access to scheduled transportation. Utilities, except for telephone but including cable, are covered under a monthly fee. As needed, nursing services include restorative therapy, 24-hour licensed care, respite care and monitoring of a therapeutic diet under the supervision of a registered dietician. Residents may also enjoy the library, lounge and arts center found in the common areas.

Chin enjoys working at St. George Village. “It’s nice to be working at a facility that is not-for-profit. Having worked for for-profit corporations, I was sometimes limited in making decisions. … Here I can bring my experience, create policies and try new things based on the needs of the residents and not dictated by a corporation.”

Much thought has gone into planning the facility, including its appearance.

“The nursing home is very unique. The biggest comment we hear is when people come off the elevator. They say it looks nothing like a nursing home they’ve ever seen. It’s light, bright and the hallways are open—usually you find narrow, dark hallways in nursing homes. And here all rooms are private rooms.”

The décor of all the facilities at St. George Village is modified but consistent throughout, from the common areas in the independent living facility to the assisted living residences and areas for those needing nursing care. This is so that as independent residents transition to the different levels of care they continue to identify with their surroundings and feel as if they’ve never left their home, Chin explained.

Having a parish, high school and grade school a short distance away affords Catholic residents a parish home and a chance to mingle with other generations. St. George Village is adjacent to St. Peter Chanel Church and the campuses of Blessed Trinity High School and Queen of Angels Elementary School.

“An advantage is that some of our servers are students from the high school,” Chin said. “They (the church and schools) are integrated into the community.”

Parishioners from the church volunteer, schoolchildren take on special projects that benefit residents, and Blessed Trinity honors residents with free passes to sporting and other activities—even a goodie bag upon their arrival at St. George Village.

“It’s a great environment.”

For those living with memory impairments, Wellington Court’s memory support services seek to provide a structured and secure setting that includes 24-hour supervised care in a customized environment, as well as staff trained in working with those with memory loss.

Chin also complimented the memory support unit by saying it, too, is a well-thought-out facility that offers much to its residents. Also, the layout is well-planned for “residents who may tend to wander.”

“There is a beautiful courtyard in the back that they can walk to and the environment is friendly and home-like.”

There is one common area that the residents’ apartments encircle.

“The majority of time residents are out in the common area where they eat and do activities. There is a home-like kitchen where residents can prepare meals, which stimulates aromas and makes it even more home-like.”

Little touches in the facility also reinforce a sense of time and place and provide visual reminders of each resident’s past.

“Outside their apartments are shadowboxes where they can display pictures of family members and relatives or articles that are very important to them to help them identify their living space,” Chin added.

Because Wellington Court offers future access to nursing care, pricing is handled differently than at other assisted living facilities, with residents paying a $20,000 entrance fee. Monthly fees, based on the size and style of apartment, are all-inclusive and range from $3,800 to $4,300 for single occupancy. A second person may be added for $1,000 a month. These amounts are comparable to other facilities in the area. The all-inclusive fee for nursing care services is $200 a day. A resident must have lived in the assisted living area for 90 days to be eligible for nursing care services.


For more information, contact St. George Village at (678) 987-0496 and ask for Stacy Gass.