Riverside opened the doors to Heron Cove at Sanders for the community to see the first residence of its kind in Virginia for older adults.

Gloucester, VA – The standard for caring for older adults in Virginia changed Saturday when Riverside Health System’s Heron Cove at Sanders opened its doors for the community to see for the first time.

"Today we stop using the words ‘nursing home’ and we start using the words ‘my house,’" said F. Michael Martin, Riverside Health System’s Senior Vice President of the Lifelong Health Division. "Take note of this moment. You are part of something very special."

Willard Scott at Heron Cove
Willard Scott hosts Heron Cove at Sanders
Community Preview Day in Gloucester, Va.
More pictures available on Facebook:
So special, in fact, that Willard Scott, a TODAY show weatherman and host of the 100th birthday salutes, attended the community preview. Scott’s visit was sponsored by Remedi SeniorCare, Spain Commercial and Clinical Resources, LLC.

"It’s nicer than my own home," said Stephanie Harris, WAVY TV 10 anchor, who MCed the community preview day with Scott. "I would love to move into a place like this. It shows how far we’re coming. This place is…home."

More than 200 people visited Heron Cove in Gloucester, located on Heron Cove Way off of Gloucester Courthouse’s Main Street, and toured the two houses that replace Sanders Retirement Community’s 50-year-old nursing home. 

The houses, and style of care the residents will receive inside, are the first of their kind in Virginia.

"We are taking people who don’t live normal lives because it’s so regimented and giving them their life back," Martin said. "Here, they can get up when they want to, sleep when they want, eat when they want to."

Both houses in Heron Cove are designed like traditional homes and feature private bedrooms and bathrooms and open dining and living areas. At the heart of each home sits a family-style kitchen that’s resident friendly and meant to bring every aspect of home life to the forefront of daily living.

"This is about independence," Scott said as he toured the houses. "That’s so important. That’s when they go downhill, when they aren’t independent anymore."

Both homes in Heron Cove can accommodate up to 20 residents. One home will provide long-term nursing care and one will provide short-term rehabilitation.

"The bottom line is we are trying to make a difference in people’s lives," said Martin.

Riverside broke ground on Heron Cove in November 2011. Sanders Retirement Community, one of Riverside’s three continuing care retirement communities, includes assisted living apartments and independent living cottages. Both remain part of the campus.

"Heron Cove forever," Scott said. "The name is your home, and how sweet it is."


Published: December 11, 2012