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Villas of Jackson celebrates five years

The Villas of Jackson celebrated the five-year anniversary of its official opening on Friday, April 1. A sign outside of the assisted living facility highlighted the occasion. Photo by Jay Forness

The Villas of Jackson celebrated its five-year anniversary on Friday, April 1, with a small celebration for residents and staff members. Due to COVID-19, the Villas was unable to hold an open house to celebrate, but are planning on holding a belated celebration once it is safe to do so.

Villas of Jackson Administrator Carl Knott said the support from the Jackson community has led to its success. “It’s easy to succeed when you have so much support,” he said. “This community is wonderful and we are very lucky.”

The Villas officially opened on April 1, 2017, with the first resident moving in six days later. Today, the assisted living center is consistently around 90% to 100% full, and the Villas has expanded to include independent living duplexes and an additional memory-care assisted living facility.

Knott added that the Villas was recently approved by the state to provide more semi-private apartments at the assisted living facility to account for future growth.

“A lot has happened in the four-and-a-half years I’ve been here,” Christie Mason, director of marketing and admissions for the Villas, said. “When I started, independent living and memory care wasn’t ever discussed – it was just assisted living. But after that took off, we started looking at what we could add.”

The first of the independent living duplexes, located across the street from the assisted living facility, were completed in 2019. Currently, there are six units housing 11 residents. Mason said there is also a waiting list for the duplexes.

“The duplexes were reserved before they were even built,” Mason said. Almost half of the independent living residents were new to the Jackson community when they moved into the duplexes.

“Our community has something to do with how quickly that took off,” Knott said. “People want to live here.”

The memory care facility, which is located next to the assisted living facility, includes 18 apartments specifically for those dealing with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

“We saw a need for that,” Knott said. “There were people here at the assisted living facility that needed the extra care, and we wanted to be able to take care of them. The memory care center has been a blessing for us.”

Knott said the opening of the new facility was particularly stressful because of the additional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The memory care center broke ground in May 2019 and opened in December 2020.

“We built a memory care unit during a once-in-100-years pandemic,” Knott said. “Everything was harder to do during the pandemic, from ordering building supplies to the restrictions needed to keep residents safe. It was very difficult, but we overcame it.”

The Villas continues to grow, with a new group of independent living duplexes being built on Old Toll Road in Jackson. The new location, called Villas of Old Toll Road, will include 32 duplexes.

“Even though it will be part of the Villas, it will be its own little community,” Pam Brown, business office administrator for the Villas, said. “They will have their own clubhouse, where they will have meals and different activities.”

Knott added that the new duplexes will be the Villas next big challenge, being the first Villas expansion not located near its assisted living facility. Construction began in December, and the first phase is expected to be completed this fall.

Knott said the growth of the Villas was possible due to the strong reputation they have been able to build and maintain over the past five years. “We look at the individual before we look at the dollar, and it’s paid off,” he said.

Knott said that mindset is only possible because of the support of the Villas of Jackson’s owners and board. “They have been so supportive to us,” he said. “We are not required to have a generator, but they stepped in and said that for the safety of our residents, they would provide a $200,000 generator.”

“Being privately owned gives us the luxury of making decisions on the spot with residents and their families as to what is best for the resident,” Mason added.

In addition to the community and owners, Knott said a large amount of the Villas success was due to the direct care staff that interacts with the residents on a daily basis. “They are excellent, and we are very lucky to have them,” he said.

Mason added that many of the employees at the Villas have grown in their positions over the past five years and advanced to larger roles at the Villas.

Brown said they have become an integral part of the lives of the residents and their families — including celebrating several residents’ 100th birthdays.

“Our staff sees our residents as an extension of our families and our residents feel the same way about our staff,” Brown said. “We put them first, and they are able to feel that.”

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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