Autumn Care celebrates completion of $4 million renovation project

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2008

By Lee Ann Sides Garrett
Laurie File smiles as she looks around the room at Autumn Care’s spacious new rehabilitation center.
The rehabilitation director says she loves her job more than ever these days.
“The morale of the staff definitely went up,” File says. “We felt the change.”
The new center is part of a roughly $4 million renovation project that began in October 2007.
Construction included increasing the facility’s number of private rooms from eight to 40 with all new furniture and a new rehab gym with state-of-the-art equipment.
A new bathroom and kitchen will help in re-training residents.
Administrator Glenn Terry says the addition of all new floor covering and wallpaper in softer tones gives the center a more peaceful atmosphere. The center, which is licensed for 100 residents, currently has 92.
File says the roomier gym and new equipment has increased the morale of the more than 25 percent of residents who receive some type of therapy. The new addition more than doubled the space for rehab.
“There are more things to work with and no problem with space now,” File says. “If an activity is functional, residents are more into it.”
A newly furnished rec room has a wide screen TV donated by the family of a resident and an aviary with finches “who have lots of babies,” says Terry.
Large windows look out on new landscaping that includes an irrigation system. A baby grand piano donated by the owner of Autumn Corp., the center’s parent company, sits in a corner of the dining room.
Residents playing bingo can enjoy the new furniture, equipment and appliances. The center’s generator was also replaced.
The old rehab center is now a chapel with new furniture and a stained glass window depicting a sunrise. Terry says the center will work with local churches about having services in the new chapel.
Beautician and gardener JoAnn Lester says employees and residents made friends with the crews working for a year on the project, but she’s glad it’s finished.
“I love it. I’m so proud,” says Lester. “It was interesting to watch it all come together.”
Cyndi Yost, director of nursing, says the families of residents have been incredibly supportive during the long noisy process.
“It’s a better feeling about everything,” Yost says.
The center had a special celebration in October to thank families “for putting up with us for a year with the dust and noise.”
“There were some interesting times,” Terry says. “But we got through it.”