Willow Valley has long had a philosophy of designing for people, not just creating someone’s idea of what a senior might want. One prime example is the Fitness and Aquatics Center at the Cultural Center; it was created to be “athlete-worthy” by consulting with and learning from some of the top fitness experts in the country. The result is that very serious athletes find in Willow Valley a place that they can continue to train, improve, and compete. (See Passion for Sport.)
Many of the people who have moved to Willow Valley over the years have been ground-breakers, attracted to the things that made Willow Valley different from other communities. In the beginning, when many of the residential components of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC’s) were emerging from a care model, Willow Valley came from a hospitality model. “This set the course for a scrupulous attention to detail and an eye-to-eye customer focus that many communities had to work years to adopt,” says Kim Daly Nobbs, Chief Marketing Officer for Willow Valley Living. “In fact, many are still working to adopt this approach.”
Examples of the innovation that runs deep in the DNA of Willow Valley Communities can be seen throughout. And that innovation is resonating with people—even those who might have crossed the idea of senior living communities off their list of options. The Baby Boomers in particular have a broad set of desires when thinking about their next stage of life. Together with their vibrant kindred spirits from other generations, they are inspiring Willow Valley, and the senior living field as a whole, to think broadly about what is possible.
If Willow Valley desires to keep the attention of its most active prospective residents while continuing to enhance the opportunities for current residents, the organization knows it must keep raising the bar. The Baby Boomers will help keep the senior living field on its toes in this regard. Andrew Carle, the Founding Director of the Program in Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University, notes that his generation has revolutionized virtually every product and service in the American marketplace. “We’re the reason there are a hundred flavors of baby food. As we get old enough to retire and go into senior housing, do you think we’re suddenly going to settle for one flavor [of anything]?”
According to Kim Daly Nobbs, Willow Valley’s vision is “to positively transform the way aging is viewed and experienced in our world.” She notes that this dream “is illustrated by how life here inspires each person to embrace the possibilities of a life lived forward.” And far from ‘one flavor’, Willow Valley offers many somethings for everyone.