Down in Southern Mississippi . . .
Away from the hustle and bustle of its busy neighbor Hattiesburg, lies a retirement community like no other in Columbia, Mississippi. Built upon land that was once a pecan orchard, the Orchard Park community is like a picturesque, southern neighborhood, nestled in nature and boasting simplified living. Adorned with swinging benches and open front porches with manicured flower beds, the community is teeming with life. “The main concept and idea here is to fill in the gap between assisted living and working. There are plenty of folks who can and still work but are needing to downsize,” Orchard Park owner Michael Bradshaw explained. “Many of our residents still drive!” He smiles. “Here, we make our residents’ freedom a priority.”
A family legacy
At Orchard Park, the residents not only have community, but they are a part of a family with a legacy of care-giving. Co-owners and siblings Michael Bradshaw and Stephanie Herzig grew up playing in the pecan orchard purchased by their parents who developed “The Grove”, an 80-bed skilled nursing facility. And later, the two spent summers working with their parents at The Grove to earn extra spending money. Though life led the brother and sister down different career paths, they returned to “The Grove.” In 2012 Michael and Stephanie took over the family’s business and together bought the remainder of the pecan orchard adjoining “The Grove” and developed Orchard Park, an independent living community which was completed in May of last year. The community at Orchard Park is like a family, because it is family to Michael Bradshaw and Stephanie Herzig. Herzig explains, ”We’re the owners, administrators, but also family. We’re here every day. We’re here when our residents need us.”
Like coming home
“To us, Mississippi is like coming home, it’s special,” Herzig explains. “Most of our residents are from out of state, but have a special connection here,” She explains that many residents or their families want something affordable and relaxing — a combination that is increasingly hard to find. Herzig gives various anecdotes from families as close as North Mississippi and Arkansas, and as far away as Chicago. “Columbia is that answer to so many people. It’s affordable and beautiful. We have residents from all over, including Chicago — for them it’s about no more harsh winters,” Herzig laughs. “Plus, at Orchard Park, no resident has to worry about shoveling snow in the cold weather because of our location or even mowing the grass in the warm weather because we take care of all of that.”
Luxury living simplified
Orchard Park is an age-restricted community designed with the active senior in mind. “After being in the business of senior care with The Grove for so long, we really saw a need that wasn’t being filled,” Bradshaw explains. “We saw that seniors were wanting to downsize, but maintain their freedom.” Stephanie Herzig elaborates, “Circumstances could be losing a spouse and needing a sense of community, losing vision but wanting to sustain independence — we serve all those needs.” All of the cottages at Orchard Park are one level, with consistent vinyl-plank flooring throughout so that mobility is easy without any obvious trip hazards. All of the doorways are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and each shower has a built-in seat. The two-bedroom, one-bath floor plans are 900 square feet with beautiful, 13-foot ceilings. They also include a one-car garage for the residents that prefer to still drive. “The Cottages are true upscale living. We have granite countertops and ceramic tile throughout, and it’s a gated community,” Bradshaw continues. Orchard Park residents have the freedom to operate a full kitchen, furnish, and decorate the cottages as they please, and their pets are welcome too.
A community that cares
“What really sets us apart is the community aspect,” At Orchard Park, not only do residents enjoy their luxury living inside their upscale cottage, they enjoy the community that Orchard Park creates. “All of the front porches face each other and are no more than a few feet away,” Bradshaw explains. “The community comes together and has cookouts when the weather is nice, but the residents are always having coffee together and being social. Friendships develop quickly, and everyone who is involved is like family.” Bradshaw continues.
“The residents come and go as they please. It’s true independence.” The sort of freedom that comes with independent living at Orchard Park is multi-generational. Bradshaw explains that not only is life easier for the seniors, but for their children and grandchildren as well.
Billing is all-inclusive, meaning that everything is included on one, easy-to-pay statement. The statement includes electricity, cable TV, internet, garbage, water/sewer, city/county taxes, cottage insurance, pest control, home and lawn maintenance, weekly housekeeping and laundry, a daily check-in, one meal a day, in-town transportation, and an errand service. The families of seniors have much less to worry about, and much less billing to go through with a single, all-inclusive package. Families can rest easy knowing that their loved ones are receiving the benefits of once-a-day check-ins as well as on-site healthcare. “We have in-house therapy available to the residents. At the cottages, we have physical, occupational, or speech therapy available. There is also a nurse practitioner available five days a week at the Grove, next door. We do house calls and have assessments in the cottages — our residents have access to care, whenever they need it,” Bradshaw boasts. “It really opens doors because loved ones and friends can spend more quality time with our residents and less time worrying about their wellbeing. We’re proud to give our residents confidence and put their loved ones at ease.”
Looking to the future
With the one-year anniversary of Orchard Park fast approaching, co-owners Michael Bradshaw and Stephanie Herzig look to the future: “We’re excited to be expanding! We’re hoping to build a clubhouse soon that will have a large common area and kitchen for the residents to enjoy and host events at. We’d love to have a space with exercise equipment for residents to use, and a space where they can hang out and have their families over,” Herzig emphasizes. Both Bradshaw and Herzig can see expanding the number of cottages in the Orchard Park complex as well. “We currently have some open units, but we’ll be definitely expanding in the future. It’s exciting!”
For more information, call 601-736-4747 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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