SALEM – Mac Green is looking forward to learning how to walk on his artificial leg at a new spa in the Salem area.
Although it looks much like a resort – with a therapeutic pool, private whirlpool, room service meals made to order from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and calming designer colors and furnishings – the place where the Salem resident will be doing his rehabilitation starting March 10 is The Rehab Center at Richfield.
Green, who is a former Salem City Councilman and retired businessman, will be one of the first 10 guests at the $6.5-million rehab center that is proud to offer “resort-inspired amenities that no other short-term physical rehab facility in the region can match,” according to Ray Fisher, chief executive officer of Richfield Retirement Community.
The idea of the new rehab facility is for people having joint replacement, for instance, who need short-term care and don’t need a nursing home environment, explained Susan Williams the day before, as she showed a visitor through the building.
“You don’t want to feel like you’re sick,” added Williams, who is vice president for marketing and community relations.
Fisher and three dozen dignitaries were part of the opening ceremony before the ribbon cutting for The Rehab Center on March 5, and a VIP reception afterwards.
“I’ve never been so excited about the future for our residents, our guests, as I am today,” Stewart Bruce, Richfield Chairman of the Board, told the crowd.
“Helping individuals rediscover their quality of life… that’s part of a robust and far-reaching plan,” Bruce said. “What you see before you is the first of many steps. This is just the beginning of our exciting plan.”
The new rehab center is located in what was the Stewart T. Payne building, most recently used for a memory care center. Those residents have been moved to two secure wings in the Joseph C. Thomas Center nearer the front of the campus. Payne’s contributions to the Richfield community are marked with a handsome plaque near the front entrance.
The Rehab Center has 48 private rooms with 42-inch-televisions, wi-fi throughout the building, a 14-by16-foot warm-water pool for therapy and exercise, locker room and shower, a tilting whirlpool, and plenty of exercise and therapy equipment.
Jon Royall, senior director of rehab and wellness services, showed off the laser therapy to help with the healing process, air-resistance equipment for strength-building, a Lite Gait assist to help a guest stand upright and walk without having to be held by another person, and other sophisticated therapy equipment.
He also pointed out the home model area with free-standing stairs to help guests get used to climbing stairs at home; a bedroom with home-style bed to practice getting in and out instead of the therapeutic ones in guest rooms, a kitchen where they can practice cooking and ordinary household tasks.
Tyrone White, manager of rehab dining services, is proud of the menu that offers such choices as Richfield’s Reuben Classic, Apple Chicken Croissant, salads and other taste-tempting meals guests can order. Breakfast orders will be taken the night before and delivered by room service, or guests can go to the cafe.
There’s also a “grab and go” area where guests can have a choice of snacks available any time of day or night.
“If you want a cheeseburger for breakfast, you can have one,” Williams said.
Among the board members present at the VIP ceremony on Tuesday was 84-year-old Ray Byrd, retired Brooks-Byrd pharmacist, who is the oldest member of the board and has served on it for 34 years.
Byrd, who used to deliver medicines on Sundays when the retirement facility was Mercy House, remarked how far Richfield has come in the years he has known it.
“This is quite a change,” Byrd said, looking around The Rehab Center appreciatively.
The day before, Tracy Weeks, who is in charge of design and decorating for Richfield, and Monika Lee of Artistry International in Pennsylvania that selected the artwork were scurrying around, hanging accessories, attending to details and making sure the lobby looked as welcoming and elegant as it could.
“It looks beautiful,” said CNA Kenny Ngugi, who with fellow nursing assistant Mashawn Walker had worked in the building when it was the memory care center.
The pool and a gym downstairs will be opened to residents of other centers on the Richfield campus later, Williams said. Richfield Retirement’s emphasis is going more toward wellness, she added.
“As soon as The Rehab Center is up and running, we’re going to be turning our attention to planning the new nursing center,” Williams said. “Where we would like for it to go is the end of the building, facing the lake.”
Until now, the short-term rehab area at Richfield was located on the second floor of the tall building most know as the nursing home which was renamed the Recovery and Care Center.
The Rehab Center will be open to the community for tours on Saturday, March 9, between 2 and 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served.