Hillcrest Home expansion complete

Lisa Depies, Geneseo Republic Editor
Couples enjoy a Valentine's Day luncheon in the new activity room at Hillcrest Home, in rural Geneseo.

Sunlight streams through the windows of the new activity/therapy addition at Hillcrest Home, in rural Geneseo.

Despite piles of snow outdoors, the interior is “warm and cozy” said Hillcrest Home administrator Lorna Brown.

“It’s a very calming place,” she said.

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, residents were welcomed in to the new 4,000 square foot addition.

“There were smiles, lots of smiles,” said Brown.

Plans for the expansion started in 2015, following a suggestion by resident Elaine Geary.

“The original idea for this project came from a resident wishing we had a room that she could go to besides the dining room to do things,” said Brown.

Prior to the addition, activity programs were conducted in the main dining room. A cooperative effort by several departments was required to assist residents with their meal, clean up afterwards and move tables to have room for the events. Tables were moved up to twice daily to make room for events.

With the opening of the new addition, the main dining room can be used for meals while programs, activities and other events will take place in the new activity room.

“It’s going to be great,” said Hillcrest activity director Felicia Lindsey. “It will give residents a place to go and hang out besides their rooms.”

“It’s a warm and home-like place. They can come and sit and read the paper with their coffee or put together puzzles,” said Lindsey.

The new addition provides a well-lighted area for residents to participate in activities. A drop-down 12-foot screen is available for movie nights.

Lindsey said the room will provide space for a multitude of activities.

“I’ve been keeping a list of things people have suggested. The residents have been giving me ideas for things we can do,” she said, adding not needing to constantly “tear down and set up” the space will permit more events.

Along with the activity room, the new addition at Hillcrest features office and storage space as well as the nursing home’s therapy department. Before, the therapy department was located in the nursing home’s basement and residents had to reach it via elevator.

“The elevator was a huge deal. Residents were nervous about using it,” said Jason Burton, director of rehab at Hillcrest.

The new therapy room has more space than the prior basement location. It also has windows, which the basement space lacked.

“We’re really enjoying it,” said Burton.

The space allows both therapy patients and long-term residents room to exercise.

Burton said he’s also hoping the main floor location will encourage residents to utilize the space.

“We’re hoping they’ll come and exercise before or after programs in the activity room,”he said.

Across the hall from the therapy room is a small kitchen that will be utilized by both the activity and therapy departments.

Before they can transition to their own home, therapy patients practice navigating a kitchen and make a small meal.

“We had a very small, tight kitchen (before), but there’s a lot more space here,” said Burton.

The kitchen will be used by the activity department for events including cooking classes.

Members of the public are invited to view the new addition during an open house from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24.