Retirement living at The Spires at Berry College is like a grand homecoming for Jack Timberlake and Winston Faust.
Like many of the residents of the brand new continuing care retirement community, Timberlake and Faust have historic ties to Rome. In their case, both were formerly employed at the old Celanese plant in the Riverside community.
The Spires, which opened just about the time the COVID-19 pandemic set in this spring, is currently about 68% occupied. Jill Trapp, director of sales and marketing, said more units have been leased but a small handful of future residents have opted to hold off on moving in until the coronavirus plays out.
“We haven’t lost people, we just haven’t gotten them all moved in yet,” Trapp said.
Kathy Faust, Winston’s wife, said the coronavirus has not been much of an issue at all for them.
“It’s just been a little hard to get to know all of the folks,” Kathy said.
About the only time they get to see many of the residents is at meal times or during special social activities, which are still scheduled. She said that for much of the time since the couple moved in, residents have not been encouraged to visit one another inside their apartments due to the coronavirus.
Timberlake moved back to Rome from North Carolina while the Fausts came back from Virginia. Winston actually grew up in Rome.
“It seems like we’ve just been following each other around over the years,” Kathy Faust said.
Timberlake has a son who is a professor at Berry College but, thus far, his son and two grandsons have not had an opportunity to come see his apartment.
“I’ve been to their soccer games though,” Timberlake said, adding that, “This place is just terrific.”
Trapp said the residents are free to come and go as they please and family members are now able to visit with the residents.
“We do ask that no one eat with their guests, because that’s when the masks come off,” Trapp said.
The tables in the dining rooms are socially distanced at this point — and residents are even encouraged to skip a table when there is a significant number of people in the dining rooms at the same time.
“Everybody is doing great at following all the rules and regulations. It’s really easy and we haven’t had any issues whatsoever,” Trapp said. “Actually, I think people have thrived here because you are still with people. You’re not quarantined at home alone.”
When the continuing care retirement community opened earlier this year, Trapp said there was a brisk move in period, with people saying they were fearing a lockdown and wanted to be someplace there they could see others.
One of the favorite places for the residents, according to Trapp, has been the large heated saltwater pool and the water aerobics class held three mornings a week.
One of the newest facilities on the campus is the Magnolia Place Healthcare Center. The first floor is a memory care section, the second floor is a skilled nursing and rehab floor while the third and fourth floors are assisted living apartments.
Dr. Amanda Reeves, affiliated with Floyd Medical Center, serves as the in-house physician, with regular hours at the healthcare center several days a week.