A Dothan senior living community recently marked the conclusion of a $9 million construction and rehabilitation project, and the switch to the Household Model.

“We began this effort as Wesley Manor, but today it is my pleasure to officially welcome you to Wesley Place on Honeysuckle,” said Christopher Tomlin, President & CEO, Methodist Homes of Alabama and Northwest Florida, during the formal ribbon cutting on April 27, 2017—referencing the retirement community’s recent name change.

Over the course of 15 months, Wesley Place on Honeysuckle in Dothan underwent a $9 million construction and renovation project, as well as a culture change to transition to the Household Model. This person-centered approach transforms the way people experience senior living – guests customize and individualize each day so that life continues as if at home.

Robert L. McKee, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Methodist Homes.

Robert L. McKee, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Methodist Homes.

Construction and renovations included a complete physical transformation – the construction of a brand new rehabilitation center, the Rehab Inn, and the modernization of the exterior, grounds, assisted living and long-term care. These physical transformations allowed for the implementation of the Household Model.

“The most important transformation is in the culture of how our residents are cared for,” said Robert L. McKee, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Methodist Homes. “This is our commitment to our residents – to honor each resident’s right to individuality, dignity, freedom of choice and privacy.”

In the Household Model, living spaces are comprised of groups of 16 to 22 residents who live together in what is known as a ‘household.’ Each resident has his or her own private space while sharing home living spaces with other residents such as a living room, a home kitchen, and a dining room. Since the transition to this new model has been made, employees have already seen a difference in residents. During the ribbon cutting, Christopher Tomlin recounted a recent phone call:

“A few weeks ago, my cell phone rang one evening, and it was Denzil Partin, our campus engineering mentor. He proceeded to tell me a story of two residents who he was able to observe on the very first day of operation of one of the new households. Instead of our old institutional trappings and furniture, the residents were seated at the beautiful new dining tables set as you and I would have them at home. And instead of receiving a tray that had been transported from the central kitchen, they were served from the household kitchen – just as we do at home. And a surprising thing happened. Two of the residents – who for several years – had to be fed by associates at each and every mealtime – began to eat by themselves. No assistance required. And I believe one of the residents actually ate 2 plates full! And Denzil said to me – I get it. I understand why we did this.”

The ribbon cutting and re-dedication featured remarks from Tomlin, McKee, Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz, Rev. Sara Shaver, Dr. Jerry Dooling, and Dr. James B. Sanders, III. After the ceremony, the more than 200 guests were invited inside to tour the community and the new rehabilitation center.