Friends House Retirement Community Annual Reports
The text of recently received Annual Reports are below, with the most recently received at the top and older reports below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the year listed below.
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Friends House Retirement Community is in its 52nd year as the only organization within Baltimore Yearly Meeting that provides direct service to seniors and, in particular, to seniors of lower incomes.
When some Friends think of Friends House, they think of the founder’s cottages, built by Quakers from the 1960s through the 1980s. For others, they may be more familiar with the original apartments, built in 1967, with a loan from Housing and Urban Development or the two-acre garden or the wonderful programs in the Miller Center. As the population of BYM ages alongside the rest of the world, Friends will be glad to know of the health services offered in Thomas Hall, a short-term rehabilitation center, Stabler Hall, the long-term skilled nursing residences, and Havilland Hall, the assisted living residences. Friends House health centers are consistently rated among the highest in the state in Medicare Quality Care measures. This year, Friends House is ranked number one in Montgomery County and number four among the 200+ nursing homes in Maryland. In looking towards the needs and sensibilities of the next generation of Friends House residents and the changes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, the Project Steering Committee of the Board of Directors is in the early stages of planning for the next generations of residents in the health care.
We now witness daily changes to the campus as 14 new cottages, 33 new lodge apartments and 80 new mixed-income apartments in the Homes on Quaker Lane all rise from the earth. The new community coming into Friends House brings the same sense of self-determination as past generations as they engage on-line to learn about each other and plan for their futures at Friends House. New residents begin to move into the cottages in November of 2019. Move-ins will continue through the spring of 2020, with the completion of the Homes on Quaker Lane. Existing residents have both mourned and celebrated the changes to the campus, and have come through with their customary wisdom and resilience. They had a program that memorialized the loss of some of the old campus trees and shared poems, singing, photos and messages. When the Wellspring Artists lost their gallery to construction, they transformed the dining room in Stabler Hall into an art gallery and included the art of their neighbors from the skilled nursing center. Many who attended the lively gallery opening commented on this remarkable way opening.
As we learn about the negative impacts of social isolation and loneliness upon health, we have begun to examine the ways in which residents are isolated and the ways in which they become engaged. The resident-run Friends House Seniors Association (FHSA), a 501c3 non-profit corporation, is the driver of the culture of Friends House. From our initial survey of residents, we learned that Friends House survey respondents are not only highly engaged in the governance, 97.7%%, they find that this engagement helps them to address their concerns, 89.5%, and that 87.5% feel less lonely or isolated because of their engagement. We will continue to test this as newcomers enter into the community. We are also looking at the needs of smaller groups that have experienced unique isolation issues. Friends House is in the process of receiving a designation as a LGBT welcoming community via training by SAGECare. We are exploring ways to support the growing numbers of residents in caregiving roles, and to support people with isolating disabilities such as visual and hearing impairments.
The Friends House Board of Directors continues to be, along with the FHSA and Friends Services Alliance, the keepers of the values. If you are interested in joining this devoted contingent, please contact Ramona Buck.
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A Friends House resident described Friends House as a “clothesline community.” This resonated with staff, who often walk through the community with prospective residents as laundry is flapping in the breeze, before God and everybody. We like this. It give us an opportunity to ask prospective residents if they have visited any other retirement communities where laundry lines are allowed. This is just one small illustration amongst many that add up to a big difference at Friends House. As a Board member said, “Everyone says their community is unique, but Friends House is really unique.”
The staff, residents and the Board continue to make progress on the campus renewal process. This year we received approvals from the Park and Planning Commission for the master plan and from the Maryland Department of Aging. With these approvals, we have begun to work with builders on the building plans. We should finally have concrete information about the new homes this fall.
Even without the basic price and floor plan information, the response to new development has been heartening. Eight members of the Baltimore Clayworks group have joined our Circle of Friends waiting list. They have been speaking with Jordan Taylor, art teacher at Sandy Spring Friends School, about collaborating with their ceramics program. At an information gathering of potential residents, some participants started exchanging contact information so that they could form spiritual friendship groups that would help them ease their transition into the community. It was a humble reminder of the irrepressible force of community that has flowed through Friends House for generations.
The Board of Directors led strategic planning groups in discussions about the life of the community. They engaged residents, staff and future residents in discussions about:
- Wellness and Physical Exercise
- Community Building Activities
- Links to the Outside Community
- Intellectual and Spiritual Growth Activities
- Aging in Place
Life at Friends House -
The Resident’s Association became incorporated as a non-profit this year and is now known as the Friends House Senior Association. This change in status will aid them in their fundraising efforts at the Elephant Shop. The Friends House Senior Association – Wellness Committee added two levels of yoga, Bone Builders exercise and weekly trips to the swim center to the many existing wellness activities at Friends House. The Aging Well with Friends program received a fourth grant to fund a staff position to help connect residents to services, with the Friends House Senior Association as our strongest partner.
We continue to collaborate with Sandy Spring Friends School in delightful ways: This summer, residents of Friends House and students of Sandy Spring Friends School are reading Loving vs. Virginia. In the fall both groups will come together for a panel discussion of the book. A couple from Friends House is on the panel. The Lower School students performed plays and the and Upper School Students lead tech cafés, where Friends House residents brought their phones, tablets, laptops and even a desk top computer and students coached them on a number of processes. We have developed community partners as well, adding, in particular, wellness and transportation services.
Staff, the dining services company and residents also worked together to earn the Montgomery County 2017 Multi-family Property Innovative Waste Reduction/Recycling Programs – Gold Award.
Other staff achievements include a near perfect review of the Skilled Nursing Facility, by the state surveyors. There were only two tags for the facility, neither of which were connected to nursing care. Through many challenging changes in regulations, Friends House has maintained high quality of care ratings with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Alongside the many bright and hopeful changes at Friends House, the landscape is changing in affordable housing and health care in ways that threaten the very lives of seniors throughout the United States. Staff members have assumed an active role in advocacy through organizations such as Leading Age and the Montgomery County Commission on Aging in an effort to keep the future bright.
Friends House continues to provide affordable housing in a respectful, caring community for elders. For the second consecutive year, Friends Nursing Home has been rated #1 in Montgomery County and this year it came in 3rd in the state. We are humbled by this recognition and are constantly striving to improve our service to make the community even better. Friends House conducted its first staff satisfaction survey to try and identify areas of concern, and the results were overwhelmingly positive. Of the 154 respondents, 98% felt that “Friends House Retirement Community understands and is focused on the needs of the residents,” and more than 95% said that their job makes them “feel like part of something meaningful.” Quaker values are woven into the fabric of the community, resonating with staff as with residents, and it is gratifying to be acknowledged and know that they are valued by others.
The Redevelopment project is progressing and we hope to break ground during the first half of 2017. Anticipation is building and ongoing communication with residents and community members is helping us to fine-tune the Master Plan. When completed, the campus will house up to 400 seniors in 328 energy efficient, ADA-compliant homes designed for safe and graceful aging in community. In keeping with the Quaker value of equality, there will be affordable housing options for seniors seeking a wide range of pricing options – low, moderate and market rate, and every member of the community will have equal access to all areas and amenities. Homes will vary in size, but all will be built to equally high standards of quality, and conservation of green space and natural resources will be incorporated into every aspect of the plan.
Aging Well With Friends (AWWF)
Building on the solid foundation established by the Board’s former Aging Well with Friends committee, management established a new Aging Well with Friends committee to implement ideas developed by the Board committee. In February, the Resource Center opened to help connect residents, Friends and community members with services offered by Montgomery County agencies and local nonprofits, and to build community partnerships and connections. The Resource Center also provides space for an independent geriatric care practice, Advanced Primary and Geriatric Care, which is available to residents who register with them and make an appointment. At this stage, they visit the community twice a month. As the practice builds, they will come more frequently. With funding from the Friends Foundation for the Aging, we hired a part-time Resource Coordinator who has worked with the AWWF committee to design and implement a broad menu of person-centered wellness activities, including seminars on topics such as maintaining core strength and nutrition, intergenerational exchanges with Sandy Spring Friends School students, interactive workshops, a Wellness Fair, balance screening, and more. This year, Friends House is sending teams to the Maryland Senior Olympics for the first time. Visit the website at www.agingwellwithfriends.org for more resources on aging.
Finally, we are grateful for the ministry of staff, residents and friends who pulled together and made sure that we all got through the Blizzard of ’16! The maintenance crew worked around the clock to clear roads, cars and rooftops, and more than 40 staff members camped out on cots and sofas throughout the weekend to make sure that all residents were safe, fed and cared for. Residents opened their homes to guests and provided sleeping bags and blankets for staff. Times like this remind us how blessed we are to be part of such a warm, caring community!
Friends House is widely known amongst Friends for being a vibrant community where residents engage in so many activities that resonate with Friends and for the tender care that residents demonstrate for one another. This year, Friends Nursing Home was honored by a ranking of #1 in Montgomery County and #2 in the state of Maryland for quality of care. The criteria set by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene includes staffing levels and stability, infection control, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services quality indicators and a family satisfaction survey. Friends House Nursing Home also received a Medicare five-star rating. This recognition presents a challenge. Success is never final and we work every day to live up to this honor.
The Master Plan
We are also looking to the future to plan a campus that matches the outstanding care. We are planning to redevelop the affordable housing, add cottages, lodges and apartments, update the commons and the health care facilities.
True to Friends’ business practices, the redevelopment of Friends House has engaged residents in conversation about the new campus plans at every level: the Board, the Project Steering Committee, listening sessions with the architects and the developers, resident committee input, Resident Association meeting presentations and discussion, reports to the community and Friday morning “Coffee with Kevin.” Accordingly, the project is progressing in good order. The plans that we had hoped to file for land use permitting last fall, we are hoping, once again, to submit this fall. .
There is a high interest in including health and wellness amenities and in using sustainable practices and features in the new campus. The willingness of residents to bear the financial burden of these features as part of the cost of living at Friends House has its limits. To that end, we are hiring a Development Director and re-invigorating our fundraising efforts.
Aging Well With Friends
The resident-Board initiative, Aging Well with Friends (AWWF), is entering its third year. They are working on a sustainability plan and in partnership with the Jewish Council on Aging, they have engaged a part-time volunteer to work on developing new resources, partnerships and coalition building. You can get the latest news on Friends House Volunteers on Facebook and attend the workshop at BYM Annual Sessions to learn more about AWWF.
“The view of Washington at night from the air can be spectacular if you’re not strapped down to a stretcher in a Maryland State Police Med-Evac helicopter…”
These are the words of a Friends House cottage resident recalling the day of a catastrophic injury that landed him in various levels of medical care for the next twenty-two months. His wife said to me, after attempting to have him visit the cottage in his wheel chair, “Suddenly, our cottage has steps!” It was time to make some adaptations.
Friends House echoes this startled epiphany. Friends House was incorporated in 1967, before anyone had envisioned the impact of the nation’s burgeoning population of seniors, aging in place, much less the Americans with Disabilities Act, which mandates that new homes are friendlier to persons with mobility impairments. Now, Friends House is adapting to changes in the population and changes in the economy with a major redevelopment project.
The Master Plan
The Friends House Board accepted a Master Plan for the development of the Friends House campus. This Plan offers a general sketch and projection of possible building development, construction costs and fees necessary for financial stability. The Master Plan is a general guide for the next steps of the Design Phase. It sets forth suggested new buildings, phasing of construction, estimated construction and financing costs and the possible fees necessary to generate enough revenue to pay these costs and support the Continuing Care Retirement Community. The Master Plan will undoubtedly change to incorporate further research and detail as the present Design Phase proceeds.
The Design Phase
We are presently progressing well into the Design Phase. Our Project Development Committee goals for this year are:
- Select an Affordable Housing Developer to be our partner in developing the low income rental buildings necessary for our development. (Completed)
- With the Affordable Housing Developer, assemble a team of architects and other relevant professionals. (In progress)
- Select and employ a market research firm to conduct research to refine the market desires of groups who may be possible Friends House residents. (In progress)
- Re-examine and revise the basic Master campus plan in light of the necessary land use permit process. (In progress)
- File a land use permit application with the County this coming fall. This would start an approval process which could last a year or more.
- Incorporate market research results into further architectural design and fees projections.
Goal #1: The Affordable Housing Developer
Friends House has selected an Affordable Housing Developer that will become a partner with Friends House in the affordable housing buildings themselves, as well as participate in procuring funding, performing construction and continuing in rental management. This partnership relationship will last probably 15 years. Friends House is finalizing the partnership with Homes for America, a competent affordable housing development partner, with values compatible with Friends House. We look forward to a long-term, harmonious relationship.
Goal #3: Market Research
An important part of the Project Development Committee’s work this year is to refine our understanding of possible new appropriate, independent living, market rate homes. In the Master Plan, general assumptions were made about the number and types of Independent Living homes, the amenities to be included, the sizes of the homes, and possible entry fees and monthly fees. To test these assumptions, the Project Development Committee has retained Brooks Adams, an experienced market research consultant.
Brooks Adams, in continuing consultation with the Market Research Subcommittee, has devised questionnaires and conducted focus groups and other means of eliciting views from carefully selected Quaker and general target markets. Towards the end of this year, this analysis will be used in further architectural design and financial models. We thank those of you who have contributed to this research by completing a questionnaire or agreeing to participate in a focus group.
Relationship with BYM
In light of upcoming changes in the corporate structures of FH, the Governance Task Force of the FH Board has been reviewing the FH bylaws and charter. Since its founding, FH has been under the care of BYM and BYM has nominated some members of the FH Board. In the next few months the Governance Task Force will be convening a group to consider the care relationship between FH and BYM, and what it means to both organizations to be in a care relationship together.
Aging Well With Friends
Aging Well with Friends (AWWF), a working group of the Board of Trustees’ Long Range Planning Committee, received a grant from Friends Foundation for the Aging to conduct focus groups and research effective models to discover ways to provide a healthy, supportive, wellness approach for residents to age in community.
The AWWF committee is now building upon the information gained and the energy generated to begin a more in-depth exploration of specific resources and community connections. In June of this year, we received a second grant to build this network. Come and learn more about the village model of aging in community at the Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting, held at Friends House, on September 28, 2014.
Life at Friends House
When I spoke to staff in the nursing facility and asked them about what they have been working on and what they would like Friends to know about their work at Friends House, they mentioned the name of the Friend who took the helicopter ride. “He is a wonder.” There was a point when family, Friends and staff feared he would not recover from complications from his fall. While he was in nursing care at Friends House, his wife move into a fully wheelchair accessible apartment home in the “New C” wing and was able to continue to visit with him every day, even throughout this snowy winter. Gradually, he was able to join old Friends in the Miller Center for programs and in the dining room for dinner. We are happy to report that in May of 2014, he moved home with his wife. Although she speaks highly of his care the nursing facility, she reminds us that being at home is where everyone really wants to be.
Friends House is not the stereotypical old folks home, where people go to die. Although most stories are not as dramatic as the one above, Friends House continues to be a place where people come to life.
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