During my visit to Snug Harbor on Nelson Bay, a retirement oasis nestled in the serenity of the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina, I saw what life in a retirement center should be. Upon entering the facility, I was immediately struck by the non-institutional design. I expected to see a nursing home. Instead, I found a sea captain’s retreat.
Formerly a retirement home for Merchant Marines, the decor of Snug Harbor remains nautical. A well stocked library, complete with classical leather armchairs, is situated behind the receptionist’s alcove. A large fireplace invited me into the living room area. I was surprised to find a true Southern style Happy Hour taking place with several folks participating in a Broadway show tunes sing-a-long. To the delight of the residents, a visiting concert pianist was tickling the ivory of the grand piano. I walked the halls and saw residents enjoying fine dining with friends in a beautifully appointed dining room. Next door was an option for mealtime for those who preferred fast food in a diner styled atmosphere. Further down the hall, flowers adorned a quiet chapel in respect for a fallen resident.
What I didn’t see was what I have normally seen in assisted living facilities. There were no embarrassing half-tied hospital gowns or medicine carts blocking the hallways. No one sat strapped into a gurney chair trying to break free. No one was sitting alone in a room staring into space. Residents were dressed as if they were expecting company. They were navigating the very wide halls without impediments. In a hobby shop, painting, creative writing, gardening, and wood-working were being encouraged.
When Jennifer Gildard, Marketing/Community Liason, invited me to hold a reading of The Caregivers, I was pleased to visit again with the residents of Snug Harbor. It is no surprise that this facility has now been awarded 5 stars in the U.S News best of nursing homes ratings.
For more information, visit Snug Harbor’s website: http://www.snugharboronnelsonbay.com/testimonials.html.