Friendship Village of South Hills is now the first and only retirement community in Western Pennsylvania to be recognized as a Center for Successful Aging (CSA). The community received the honor from Masterpiece Living®, an organization that partners with more than 80 senior living organizations across the country in support of successful aging initiatives.
Currently, there are only 21 CSA-certified retirement communities nationwide. To receive the distinction, these organizations must showcase exemplary strides in criteria set by a team of experts in the field of aging, including leadership, outreach, team member engagement, resident engagement and purposeful programming.
“Successful aging is ingrained in our community culture, and this certification is affirmation of the vibrant lifestyle we offer residents on a day-to-day basis,” said Bryan Welty, executive director at Friendship Village. “We’re incredibly thankful to our residents and team members for their enthusiastic involvement in our intellectual, spiritual, physical and social initiatives. Their support is what makes achievements like this possible.”
Highlights of such initiatives include:
- Let’s Eat Together – Every quarter, residents from all levels of living and team members from all departments are invited to share a special family-style meal. The recurring event is geared toward promoting inclusivity and resident and team member engagement.
- The Living It Campaign – During the month of February, residents are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones to try something new each day. Friendship Village puts together a calendar with unique wellness-related activities they could participate in.
- Community Outreach – Volunteerism is a key focus, with residents and team members joining together to give back to the wider Pittsburgh area throughout the year. Organizations recently served include Animal Friends, a local animal shelter, Play it Forward Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that serves families in need by providing toys to children during the holidays, and The Miracle League, a baseball league for children and adults with disabilities.
Kelly Michel, wellness lead at Friendship Village, noted there’s strong participation among both residents and team members. “We’re focused on ensuring everyone is empowered and encouraged to take part, and it shows,” she said. “It truly does take a village, and Masterpiece Living’s recognition is a cause for celebration for us all.”
This rings true for resident Linda McCaig, who worked at Friendship Village for 33 years prior to retiring at the community. McCaig lends a unique perspective having seen both sides of the coin initially as a team member and later as a resident.
“I think successful aging has a lot to do with socialization, continuing to grow and embracing new opportunities,” she said, pointing to her current role as the vice president of the residents’ association, and her involvement with support groups and the community’s drama program as a shining example of the active lifestyle possible at Friendship Village. “Residents typically don’t have to be sold on it, they know how beneficial and wonderful it is. We’re very proud of the CSA because it says so much about the caliber of our community.”
In addition to robust programming, Welty credited the certification to Friendship Village’s continued efforts to bolster its services and amenities. The community is currently undergoing a $39.5 million expansion, which will add 50 new assisted living apartments, 32 memory care suites, and various amenities and wellness services. The project is scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2019.
“We’re all about maintaining an environment that’s conducive to the health and well-being of the people who live and work here,” he added. “We take a holistic approach to the retirement experience, and we’re consistently working to enhance it.”
To learn more about Masterpiece Living and the CSA initiative, visit mymasterpieceliving.com/centers-for-success-aging.