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Asheville's Mountain Xpress prints "Views from the Vortex, Part II."  Read more...

Several Deerfield Residents were recently featured in Asheville's local magazine, Mountain Xpress.  The story entitled, "Views from the Vortex" highlights literary works from a local writing seminar called, "Turning Your Life Into Literature."  View the article and meet some of Deerfield's finest writers.

Deerfield writers

Deerfield is committed to a tradition of sharing time, talents, and treasures.  To learn more, view Connections: Deerfield's 2012 Report on Social Accountability.

2011 Pathways to Greatness Award: Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA—October 17, 2011—LarsonAllen LLP (http://www.larsonallen.com ) and LeadingAge (http://www.leadingage.org/) are proud to announce Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community, Inc. (Deerfield), of Asheville, North Carolina, as the 2011 Pathways to Greatness award recipient. 

Deerfield was selected by an industry steering committee panel based upon the five key attributes of a successful aging-services organization: leadership, superior performance, distinctive impact, best practices and innovation, and the ability to inspire public trust and confidence. While many applicants impressed the judging panel in a few of the five “greatness” areas, Deerfield demonstrated commitment to all five principles of the program.
 
“In my mind, Deerfield’s success really starts with a clear understanding of their mission,” says Mario Mckenzie, a health care principal with LarsonAllen. “The organization responds proactively to the needs of its various stakeholders—always with an eye on how its efforts can improve the lives of the Deerfield residents.”
 
To learn more, download 2011 Pathways to Greatness Whitepaper

Congratulations to Linda Mechling, Deerfield’s Director of Health and Wellness on receiving the 2011 Administrator of the Year award from the North Carolina Activity Professionals Association (NCAPA). 

NCAPA is a not-for-profit organization of activity professionals whose purpose is to expand and improve the quality of care in the programs for the seniors its members serve.  NCAPA provides a vehicle to better interaction and communication between activity professionals, regulatory agencies and other health care professional groups.  NCAPA promotes and provides appropriate educational opportunities to meet the needs of the people it serves and keeps its members aware of legislation affecting the activity profession.

Mrs. Mechling joined Deerfield’s staff in 2004.  She is responsible for resident Health Care at all three levels.  She is a Registered Nurse and a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator in the state of North Carolina.  Prior to joining Deerfield, she was the Unit Manager at Greentree Ridge.  She also worked in long-term care as Director of Nursing in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  Mrs. Mechling’s background also includes home healthcare and quality improvement.  In addition, she has worked in women’s health, neonatal life support, and care for post-op surgeries.

When I close my eyes and think of the word "priest" what I see in my mind's eye is the figure of The Rev. John Tuton, for whom this new residence is named. He was, simply, the finest priest I ever knew.

Deerfield's roots go back to 1953, and to a time when he Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina was struggling to survive. The financial picture was dismal. It was not a god time to start a new venture. Nonetheless, John Tuton, them Chairman of the Department of Christian Social Concerns, spoke forcefully at the 1954 diocesan convention about the need for a retirement home in the diocese. Jack believed that if we were to be true to our faith, we must face these difficult times with bold measures.

Mr. Charles Timson, a friend of Bishop henry, was present at that convention and he was impressed with Mr. Tuton's presentation, and he offered his summer home, which he had named "Deerfield,"  as the starting place for the new venture. And so  the community began, with four women and a housekeeper who lived together in the house which is now part of the chapel.

In the months and years that followed, Jack labored tirelessly to build up this community, giving Deerfield the full force of his reputation and leadership. Our debt to him cannot be overstated, for if it were not for his leadership in the mid 1950's we would not be gathered here today.

If Jack Tuton were here with us now, he would be humbled by this dedication, and would surely want us to name this building after someone else. But he would be so proud–and thrilled–to know that this community, acting in faith, undertook a 72 million dollar building and renovation program to expand the mission and ministry of Deerfield, thus providing hundreds of jobs in the middle of the worst national recession since the Great Depression. He would draw his greatest satisfaction from knowing that this community did  the best of things in the worst of times.

Now it is my honor to present Mrs. Ernestine Tuton – Jack's widow, his wife, his companion, his soul mate, and the wind beneath his wings – to cut the ribbon and open this new residence.

Future Tuton Hall resident, Suzanne Vermilye, shares her excitement about her upcoming move to her new apartment...

My husband and I are both from New Jersey and went to college in New England, but we have lived in the South since 1971 and on Hilton Head Island since 1996. Four years ago we began thinking about the future. There are three Continuing Care Retirement Communities on Hilton Head, and we became familiar with the concept through friends in each of these. Our interest was piqued, but we wanted to make sure.

We decided we wanted to stay in the southeast, and for the next year we took jaunts throughout the region, visiting CCRCs that looked attractive from their literature and websites. At some point we sat down and realized we had visited and/or accumulated written material on 27 CCRCs in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia, and North Carolina. Throughout we became increasingly convinced that the CCRC concept was right for us. At the same time we were struck by the range of administrative and financial options in the industry.

Also during this period Deerfield began to stand out. We liked its location in the North Carolina Mountains, the property is beautiful, the residential facilities are attractive, the medical facilities are impressive, the staff is friendly and professional and the residents are consistently active, outgoing and friendly. By 2006, Deerfield was clearly our #1 choice, and there was no second. There was however a waiting, list and we were number 224. We figured we would be in our late 200s by the time we could get in. But our worry turned to excitement when it was announced that Deerfield’s plans for expansion were approved and that a new building with 83 additional apartments would be started with occupancy planned before the end of 2010.

The marketing people were encouraging, but we held our breath until marketing called to say an apartment meeting our specs was available. There was rejoicing that evening. Once we received our “official floor plan” I’ve been busy deciding what furniture to take to Deerfield. Given Deerfield’s affiliation with the Episcopal church, I was sure that snows would be light for the first year and that it would rain only on weekends, at least until the building was closed in and work would not be interrupted. Deerfield installed a webcam on Timson Hall pointed toward the Tuton Hall construction site to monitor progress. I’ve loved looking at the webcam, almost daily, and I’ve saved many of the webcam photographs in a folder on my laptop. These are now used by Windows as a slide show for my screen saver.

Despite the five hour drive from Hilton Head, we have attended several of the seminars and social events for our Class of 2010. These have been excellent, and we have enjoyed meeting our “classmates.” It is going to be fun being part of such a young and lively group. Each visit makes us more excited about moving to Deerfield, and I am sure this excitement has been conveyed directly to the construction site resulting in adherence to the original timeline for the project.

Given the housing market, we originally asked for an October move-in date because we anticipated a slow sale of our house on Hilton Head. We finally listed it in February and it sold in a week for a little less than the list price. In addition our buyers have agreed to let us lease back the house until we move to Deerfield. With that transaction behind us, we naturally turned around and badgered marketing to give us an early move-in date. This they did.

Truly, it has been delightful to be greeted so warmly and enthusiastically by everyone we have met and worked with each time we have returned to Deerfield. We are certainly looking forward with excitement to this next chapter in our lives with the class of 2010 as well as with the current residents. We can hardly wait to get to know you, Class of 2010, as we all move in over the summer of 2010, our summer!

The current expansion of the Deerfield Community is the culmination of an exhaustive study of the present and future needs of our residents.  The addition of our new St. Giles Health Care Chapel is one essential part of that much larger picture.

The Health Care Chapel is an answer to many needs long experienced by residents and staff in Deerfield’s Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing facility. It is used for worship as well as for many other purposes.

Religious services are offered twice weekly.  Many other diverse social, cultural, and life-enrichment activities are offered daily in Health Care Chapel as well.  The new chapel is located next to the new Activities room, and is connected to it by a short corridor. These two areas are designed to be used together as needed.

A private Meditation Room designed as an attractive parlor also adjoins the chapel and is used for small gatherings, care planning meetings with residents and staff, and as private family room as well as for meditation and prayer circle meetings.

Our past experience over the years has taught us something remarkable about people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia:  the spiritually-receptive parts of the mind are the last to fail.  Our experience is supported by current medical and social research.  People who have forgotten nearly everything else are often still able to sing favorite hymns, recite prayers and respond to familiar parts of the liturgy.  As the cognitive capacities of the brain diminish, people remain attuned to their spiritual feelings and religious memories.

Churches, synagogues, and temples are special places.  They evoke feelings of peace, well-being and sanctuary.  Therefore to have the corporate "life" of the community located in a sacred space -- a place of "sanctuary" -- will have a very positive effect on the quality of our residents’ final years.  The Health Care Chapel is not used only for worship, but is the setting for all types of activities and programs. We're aware that this is a new concept, one with great potential to reshape the way health care professionals think about the nature of “community.”

The generosity of the Deerfield residents and the guiding spirit of our one-time Director of Finance, Danny Boone, have made scholarships possible for our dedicated employees who wish to further their careers. Danny’s widow, Melonie, gathered recently with the recipients of the over $10,000 in funds.

Congratulations to staff members who are working hard on advancing their careers while pulling their full-time hours at Deerfield. Their gratitude goes out to the residents who support those efforts, and to Melonie, who keeps Danny’s spirit and vision alive through her guidance of this program. There is no better demonstration of the Deerfield way.