Though older adults (age 55+) comprise 20% of Buncombe County’s population, they have limited access to affordable housing options designed to meet their needs. Coordinator for Buncombe County Aging Plan Alison H. Climo shared, “Neither the current housing stock nor the booming development of new housing matches the expressed desire among older and aging residents to age in place. Buncombe County needs housing options that are affordable but also accessible to enable people of all ages, and all people as they age, to remain in the home of their choice.”

To that end, in the first phase of construction at its upcoming New Heights neighborhood (off of Old Haywood Road), Habitat will build 8 single-level townhomes specifically for aging adults, thanks to generous support from local retirement community, Deerfield. Funding from Deerfield and its newly formed Charitable Foundation includes a Full House Sponsorship ($55,000) on each of the 8 units, as well as $50,000 to research and develop senior-oriented house designs, financing options and HOA management.

“The ability to age with safety and dignity and to live in an age-friendly community shouldn’t be an option reserved for the wealthy. Everyone deserves to live in a stable, affordable home – in all stages of life. We are incredible grateful for Deerfield’s partnership in this important work of ensuring more of our aging neighbors have a safe, affordable home,” said Andy Barnett, Asheville Habitat’s Executive Director.

Specifically designed for and sold to qualified older adults, Habitat’s senior housing will include universal design elements such as:

• An at-grade or ramped entrance to the main floor or the capability to easily install a ramp
• Entry doorways and passageways at least 36″ wide
• A bathroom that will accommodate a wheelchair in a 365-degree circle
• One-level living that includes a full bath, kitchen, laundry, living space and 1+ bedroom
• Additional occupant-specific accommodations

Like all Habitat homeowners, senior homebuyers will repay an affordable mortgage. To help identify potential homebuyers, Asheville Habitat will leverage existing relationships with Council of Aging, Land of Sky Regional Council and other agencies.

“We are so glad to be able to support affordable housing for seniors in Buncombe County. Deerfield residents have communicated their passion and support for Habitat in such practical ways over the years – consistent volunteerism and generous donations! We listened and are affirming their commitment to Asheville Habitat by investing nearly half a million dollars in the organization’s good work,” remarked Michelle Wooley, Director of Philanthropy at Deerfield.

To learn more about Habitat homeownership (senior housing or traditional single-family and townhome models) here or call 828.210.9362. Information sessions are held multiple times each month and the schedule of upcoming dates can be found on the website.

The Danny Boone Scholarship Fund was established in 2000 in memory of Danny Boone, a beloved Deerfield administrator who during his many years at Deerfield encouraged employees to pursue further education to reach their goals. Since its inception an average of 10 to 12 employees receive scholarships each year. In 2019, 17 Deerfield employees received scholarships toward their educational goals; seven of those employees completed their goal, all in the healthcare field. Grants have been awarded to 10 employees to assist them in their endeavors to advance in their chosen field in 2020. The Danny Boone Scholarship Program is managed by a committee comprised of residents and staff. The 2019 Award was presented by Melanie Boone to Geovanna Lopez, a CNA/Med-Tech in Assisted Living.

In 2019 AmiciMusic began offering music programs at St. Giles and they have become quite popular. AmiciMusic is excited to return to St. Giles on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 3:00 with a powerful program entitled Go Tell it on the Mountain featuring Simone Vigilante, soprano, and pianist/Artistic Director Dan Weiser doing some wonderful Spirituals and Ragtime to help celebrate African-American History month. Dr. Weiser will talk about these great musical idioms and how these two African-American traditions came together to help produce some of the incredible American music of the 20th century such as the Blues and Jazz.
Tickets are $13.50 if bought in advance online, $15 at the door.

Gordon Rittmeyer, along with a few other residents have set up a working train and village for the last two years during the holidays. Gordon and the group of train enthusiasts took shifts to be “engineer” at particular times of the day and ran the display for those who wanted to enjoy the train making its way around the track. On any day of the year, a train might be clickety-clacking along in the garage at Gordon and Judy’s home at Deerfield. He loves to share them with others, especially his grandchildren. Judy organized a showing for residents from Simonds Healthcare Center. It is now something to look forward to in the Community Center during the holidays!

Deerfield's 20th Annual Holiday Egg Nog Party will be held in the Blue Ridge Room on Tuesday, December 10th from 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm.
Happy Holidays from the Deerfield Marketing Team!
Kathy, Debbie, Deborah, Dianne and Ryanne

The Marketing Team was delighted to welcome the granddaughter and great-granddaughters of Charles and Marjorie Timson recently. The family visited Asheville from Arkansas and Colorado, with a visit to Deerfield being number one on their to-do list.

“It is such an amazing community and you can feel the love when you are there. This was very special for my mom, sisters and me.” — Debbie, Timson great-granddaughter

Charles and Marjorie Timson gifted their home and 30 acres of land to the Diocese of Western North Carolina in 1955, having been inspired by the call from Bishop Henry for a home for the aged, and their gift has grown to become a lifecare community on 125 acres serving over 600 residents and providing employment to over 300  staff members. Their visit included a tour of the community, a view of the Biltmore Estate from the 5th floor of Timson Hall, and a walk through the former Timson home and Meditation Garden at St. Giles Chapel.

Timson family from left to right: Debbie, great-granddaughter; Carol, granddaughter; Alison and Joy, great-granddaughters

Beth Allen, owner of Successful Strides Inc., in Morganton NC brought 2 miniature horses to visit residents at Deerfield this week. Daisy Duke and Finian along with handler Lily, helped fill the courtyard with joy as residents, staff, and families connected with these amazing equines. Beth Allen shares that "the intuitive nature of the horse combined with their immediate, instinctive response provides an environment where powerful, often times therapeutic results can occur." That was very apparent in the courtyard during this wonderful visit!


In recognition of the City of Asheville’s commitment to the creation and expansion of affordable housing, Deerfield has donated a quarter of a million dollars toward the effort. Asheville City Council Members accepted the $250,000 donation to the Asheville Affordable Housing Trust to assist in the City’s efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing for our residents.

“The generosity demonstrated by Deerfield in making this gift is overwhelming — the residents of Deerfield are wonderful community partners,” said Mayor Esther E. Manheimer. “This donation will have a great impact on the City’s ability to add more affordable housing for people who need it.”

Founded in 1955 on 30 acres and with the purpose to provide housing for retired clergy and widows of retired clergy, Deerfield today is a community on 125 acres with 650 residents and more than 300 employees. It has always been a vital part of Deerfield’s mission, and personally for the residents and employees, to support local organizations and people in the greater Western North Carolina community.
“We recognize and appreciate that one of Asheville’s highest priorities is to create more affordable housing options and we are pleased to participate in those efforts by giving this gift to the City of Asheville,” said Deerfield CEO Robert Wernet. “We feel that this can be a lasting legacy contribution for the Asheville Affordable Housing Trust.”

The City of Asheville’s Housing Trust Fund was created in 2000 to provide a source of local funding to assist in the development of affordable housing in Asheville. Assistance is available in the form of repayable loans at a low rate of interest. This gift is significant and represents half of the overall budget for the current Housing Trust Fund. These additional dollars will allow us to continue to make loans to produce, preserve and protect affordable housing and engage new and existing developers in partnership.

This donation is an example of how, working together, the City and private institutions can move the needle on one of our most pressing social issues. Organizations interested in partnering with the City on affordable housing are encouraged to contact Paul D’Angelo, Community Development Program Director at or 828-251-4098.

Find out more about the City’s Affordable Housing Initiative at this link.

Join us for the Seventh Annual Holiday Craft Market on Friday, November 8th, from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm in Deerfield’s Blue Ridge Room. Twenty talented Deerfield residents will be offering paintings, jewelry, pottery, note cards, fiber arts, photographs, woodcraft, paintings and other items. Cash or checks only.

Playwright Sandra Deer presents The Subject Tonight is Love, a play she wrote about a daughter’s struggle to love her mother as Alzheimer’s destroys her mother’s brain. This is her story. Deerfield staff and
residents will participate in a readers theater, along with Sandra Deer who plays her mother. Join us at Deerfield on Monday, November 4th at 3:00 pm in the Blue Ridge Room.