These days, senior living opportunities are more exciting and fulfilling than ever before, with a generation focused on living safe, active, and enriching lives.
The Village at Mercy Creek, a senior living community in Normal, strives to connect each of their residents with their life’s purpose by nurturing their physical, mental, social, and spiritual wellness needs. A Franciscan Ministries community, seniors are attracted to the Village at Mercy Creek because of the smaller community atmosphere and faith-based connection.
“Our residents are a mix of people who previously lived in the area or smaller surrounding communities and those who have moved from out of state to be near their children,” said Holly Hall, Executive Director of The Village at Mercy Creek. “The Mercy Creek community includes garden homes, one- and two-bedroom independent living and assisted living apartments, and short-term respite care.” A planned expansion will add skilled nursing care, memory care, and a full rehabilitation program to the Mercy Creek campus.
A Rich, Mission-Based History
The Village at Mercy Creek, commonly known as Mercy Creek, was initially opened by Meadows Mennonite Retirement Community in 2012. In 2018, it was acquired by Franciscan Ministries, a longstanding, mission-driven provider. “We consider it a blessing to be a part of Franciscan Ministries,” said Holly. “They are a well-respected, financially-sound organization with a 125-year history of providing compassionate, faith-based senior living services.”
Franciscan Ministries’ mission to “celebrate life and serve with joy” has become an everyday motto at Mercy Creek. “Every decision we make as a staff is focused on the well-being of our residents. We want to provide them with the support services they need and opportunities to participate in activities and interests that give them purpose and joy.”
Services Tailored To Need
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to senior living. That’s why Mercy Creek offers three different levels of services: independent living, assisted living, and respite care.
Over the years, communities like Mercy Creek have redefined the term ‘senior living.’ “A misconception about senior living is that it is a step taken only when a senior is no longer capable of living on their own,” said Holly. “That perception is changing. Many seniors no longer look at moving to our community as ‘losing their independence.’ In fact, they’re gaining it.”
Mercy Creek’s independent living services include one- and two-bedroom apartments and villa homes that residents can furnish as they like. “Our seniors have all the comforts of home without the hassle of home maintenance,” she explained. “And all of our residents are encouraged to explore their passions and the things that bring them joy, and we help them make that happen.”
Norma Eash initially moved into independent living at Mercy Creek, and likened the transition to a young adult going off to college. "At first, you consider the place you left your home,” she explained. “But it doesn’t take long before where you are becomes more familiar and you begin to put down roots. It’s like that for me here at Mercy Creek. I’ve been here five years now, and this is my home.”
Mercy Creek’s assisted living provides all the amenities of independent living with the extra support and safety a resident may need. Seniors can choose from a variety of assisted living floor plans and have access to personalized assisted living services including a wellness nurse, scheduled transportation, medication reminders, assistance with bathing and dressing, safety checks, and more.
Norma experienced some medical issues resulting from a fall and required a higher level of care. According to her daughter, “She’s still in familiar surroundings and able to enjoy the same amenities, but she also has help with bathing, dressing, and medications as needed. It’s nice that you can customize the services to the level of care your loved one needs.”
Respite (Short-Term) Care
The term “respite” means “a short period of rest or relief.” Many caregivers dedicate much—if not all—of their time to caring for their senior loved one. But there may come a time when a caregiver has to go out of town or needs a break from caregiving responsibilities. Respite care provides short-term, assisted living support for seniors that includes a fully-furnished private apartment, care partners to assist with daily living activities, and the spiritual, recreational, and personal services that are available to full-time residents.
Respite care is also available to seniors who are recovering from an injury and may not be quite ready to return to their home or live independently. “We offer physical and occupational therapy services for those needing it and have plans to expand those services in the future,” said Holly.
Respite care is also a unique opportunity for seniors to ‘test drive’ the senior living community. “Having a short stay in an apartment and exploring the services and activities available is an excellent way for a senior to ease into a move such as this.”
We had a potential resident stay in respite care while she was making the decision to sell her house," said Holly. "After just a few days here, she had made friends and said she already felt like a part of the community."
A Family Community
The amenities provided by Mercy Creek are akin to services you might find in a small community. “There’s a very family-like feel here,” said Holly, “both among the residents and the staff.”
Dick Jacobs is relatively new to Mercy Creek, and a friend of Norma’s. "When the time came for our dad to find a new home, we naturally looked at Mercy Creek since Norma lives there,” said Dick’s daughter, Debbie. “But in addition to that perk, it’s a lovely facility with a staff that is welcoming and caring. Dad has choices of activities and opportunity to be with other folks. And being close to home helps Dad's grandkids and great grandkids easily stop by for quick visits."
Mercy Creek provides a restaurant-style, open dining concept that offers residents three meals a day. “They can order from an extensive menu, and all meals are prepared by our chef and team,” said Holly. “We also offer worship services and regular pastoral visits to meet the spiritual needs of our residents.”
Other areas for seniors to socialize include activity rooms, a theater, spa, beauty shop/barbershop, fitness center, library, gift shop, and a beautifully-landscaped courtyard.
Mercy Creek’s life enrichment department provides opportunities to attend events and outings to see music concerts, go shopping, have picnics, or visit restaurants in the area. They also bring in activities and presentations by organizations such as a local history museum and singing groups. Mercy Creek posts a weekly calendar of the educational, cultural, social, and recreational activities that residents can choose from based on their interests and passions.
For the residents’ medical needs, Mercy Creek has clinical staff on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The clinical team includes registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). They provide physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy services plus weekly onsite clinics through a partnership with OSF Healthcare and Dr. David Jones.
“We also provide full maintenance for apartment residents and housekeeping services,” said Holly, “and our complimentary transportation throughout the Bloomington/Normal area enables our residents to run errands, attend appointments, or explore the town.”
Mercy Creek provides support services that enable seniors to be as independent as possible. “We want our residents to continue to do as much for themselves as they can and thrive in our community,” said Holly. “Many times, seniors start to lose their friends and don’t have the social contacts they once used to; they become more isolated in their homes. Even if they’re still capable of taking care of their own home, it’s better to consider senior living while they’re functioning at that higher level so they can enjoy the lifestyle, activities, and social opportunities a community like the Village at Mercy Creek has to offer.”
Dick’s other daughter, Laurie, said that isolation was another reason they turned to Mercy Creek. “Dad didn’t have anyone his own age around him for a long time,” she explained. “He wasn’t getting out and would sit and sleep in the same chair—the house was just becoming too large for his needs and his abilities. Now that he’s here, I think he’s already enjoying making new friends and doing some of the things he used to do—safely.”
Holly said she hears the phrase, ‘I used to’ frequently. “Seniors who come in to tour Mercy Creek say, ‘I used to garden, but it’s hard for me to get down on my knees now,’ or ‘I used to play cards, but many of my friends I played with have passed.’”
For those who enjoy gardening, Mercy Creek has a raised garden area specifically designed for the senior population. Residents plant and cultivate flowers and vegetables every year.
In addition, Mercy Creek has a vibrant internal volunteer program. “Residents—and even family members of residents—volunteer to work in the gift shop or other areas of the community. It’s a great way to socialize and get to know people.”
A Warm Welcome
For those who may be considering a move, Holly says she welcomes seniors and their families to schedule a tour of their community. “It’s important to gather information and visit different places to get a sense of what they’re looking for and what appeals to them. We’d love to help them continue to live their best life here at The Village at Mercy Creek!”
“Everyone is so nice and friendly here,” raved Dick, “and the coffee is good!”
The Village at Mercy Creek is located at 1501 Mercy Creek Dr. in Normal. For more information about senior living at The Village at Mercy Creek, call 309-268-1501, or visit them online at www.villageatmercycreek.org.
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