By Lori Lovely
Americans hold their independence dear every day, not just on July 4, when we gather with friends and family to go on picnics and watch fireworks. We cherish freedom and independence throughout our lives. The independence so often taken for granted when we are young can be taken from us when we age. The goal of Courtyard Estates of Peoria’s staff is to create an environment in which each tenant can maintain independence for as long as possible.
Home Sweet Home
The first step of independence is the home. Courtyard Estates is conveniently located in the former Peoria landmark, Jumer’s Castle Lodge. “It’s a beautiful building filled with character and charm,” says Sherry Arrowsmith, marketing and admissions director. “Many tenants have memories of coming to the hotel for weddings, dinners, or parties.”
Converted into 100 apartments, the former hotel offers the quality workmanship of the past. Some rooms feature fireplaces, lofted ceilings, brick walls, and large windows. “No two are alike,” Arrowsmith says. “They are not cookie-cutter. Tenants who visit one another won’t see the same room they have.”
Three sizes are available: efficiency, one-bedroom, and one-bedroom deluxe. All are spacious and comfortable, made homey and familiar when tenants bring their own furniture and décor. To make it feel even more like home, pets are allowed (a cat or a dog under 20 lbs.), as long as the tenant can care for them.
The individual apartments are located on all four floors, accessible by elevator. Laundry and housekeeping are provided. If they prefer to do their own, laundry facilities are available on each floor for tenants’ use.
Not Just Desserts
One way Courtyard Estates helps tenants stay independent longer is by providing three healthy, home-cooked meals per day. In addition to serving a daily special, they offer an à la carte menu with a wide variety of choices.
“Our tenants have real choices,” Arrowsmith says. “If they don’t like the daily special, they can choose from our ‘always available’ menu, which includes favorites like cheeseburgers and fries or a chef salad.” Their menu provides a wide variety of selections that change seasonally.
Restaurant-style dining complete with waitstaff to take their order ensures a relaxed atmosphere. Guest meals are available if a tenant wants to include family or friends in their dining experience. In fact, Arrowsmith says they encourage family members to come for meals and events. Family involvement is always encouraged, particularly during the holidays. “We take reservations for Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we serve festive holiday meals. It’s great for family members because they don’t have to cook; they can come here and enjoy spending time with their loved ones instead of working in the kitchen.”
Members of the Courtyard Estates community can reserve the private dining room or lounge for parties, dinners, or other special occasions. Conversely, if they want some time alone, they can prepare small meals or snacks in the kitchenette in their apartment.
Pursuit of Pastimes
“The main two questions I get from family members when I do tours are about meals and the social life,” says Arrowsmith. It’s a big part of keeping tenants healthy, independent, and active. There’s a full calendar of activities to keep tenants active and help them maintain quality of life. Many activities are offered onsite, ranging from various clubs and exercise programs to special events like the Senior Prom, cooking demonstrations, and the Mad Hatter tea party. In addition, Courtyard Estates schedules outings, such as weekly lunches, plays, picnics, scenic rides, shopping, and concerts. There are also special tours like the local Air Force base or the Lincoln Museum.
“We help them maintain an active lifestyle,” indicates Julia Smith, director. “Our tenants are happier because they stay active and maintain a healthier lifestyle. They have found friends and family here.
Courtyard Estates offers tenants things they can’t get at home, such as companionship. Amenities include a movie theater, library, beauty salon, lounge, wine garden, and a spa with a walk-in bathtub. The movie theatre and wine garden can be reserved for use by tenants and their families.
Services include transportation to doctor and dentist appointments and church. There is nursing staff onsite 24/7 to help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and taking medications. Although many tenants can perform the majority of daily tasks on their own, others require additional assistance to maintain their quality of life.
“It’s all about supportive living,” Arrowsmith says. As people live longer, they are more apt to experience unexpected illnesses or injuries that require assistance. They may find themselves alone in their home, unable to care for themselves. In addition to the assistance that Courtyard Estates provides, the tenants can have the home health service of their choice come for physical therapy.
The People Make the Difference
Having the right staff to care for tenants sets Courtyard Estates apart from other assisted living facilities. Several staff members have remained with the company since the facility opened in 2011, spanning all departments, according to Smith.
It all starts with hiring compassionate people, she says. Having staff who genuinely care about the tenants is imperative. “After all, we are their day-to-day family.”
“Housekeeping does a phenomenal job of weekly cleaning,” Smith praises, adding that they become especially close with the tenants because they get to know them while they’re cleaning their apartments. “They consider them family.”
Every department is dedicated to caring for the tenants. Nursing assistance is available 24/7—another advantage Courtyard Estates has over other facilities. “We’re here when they need us,” Arrowsmith says. In addition to nurse call systems in their apartments to alert staff that they need emergency assistance, tenants are given nurse call pendants to wear so they can get the assistance they need any time.
In addition to serving its tenants with devotion and thoughtfulness, Courtyard Estates of Peoria works to fulfill its mission to be a good community partner. Each facility within the Petersen Healthcare family does an annual fundraiser for St. Jude.
“The former Jumer’s Restaurant was known for cinnamon rolls,” Arrowsmith recalls, so it seemed natural that they would incorporate the cinnamon rolls the building is famous for. The laborious effort resulted in 5,000 orders and a profit of more than $19,000—a substantial donation. This has become an annual event for the community.
“It’s important to be part of the community,” Arrowsmith adds. Their Courtyard family also participates in the Walk to End Alzeimer’s each fall, an event that touches all of their families.
But their priority remains the health, happiness, and independence of their tenants. “They have family and a home here,” Arrowsmith sums up.
For a tour and additional information, contact Courtyard Estates of Peoria at 309-674-2400.
Back to Top