It is true – some things just get better with age. Case in point: The Mary J. Drexel Home in Bala Cynwyd. The historic nursing home has experienced a magnificent transformation, which was celebrated with a grand re-opening in June as The Hearth at Drexel.
The name change reflects the new “resident-centered” approach to Assisted Living that Liberty has embraced and is leading across the region. Resident-centered care puts the desires and personal preferences of residents first – regimented schedules are a thing of the past.
The former Mary J. Drexel Home joined the Liberty Lutheran Family of Services in 2008, and since then has been undergoing a top-to-bottom renovation to accommodate a completely new Assisted Living Community. The original Home – the 126-year-old mansion built by John D. Lankenau in memory of his wife Mary Johanna Drexel – forms the anchor of The Hearth’s four new household communities.
On a recent tour, Paul DeLumba, former longtime member and board chair of the Drexel Board of Directors, marveled at the renovations as he stood in the living room of the Tuscan Wing of The Hearth. “The best thing we ever did was join Liberty,” he said. “They have taken this vision and made it a reality. It’s beautiful and I can’t believe it’s the same place.”
The Hearth has been designed around the idea of the “household model,” to bring people together. Each household, with its own distinct color theme, has a large open common area that is the hub of activity and dominated by a signature stone hearth. Window boxes overflowing with seasonal flowers bedeck the balconies, and the large windows bring in the natural light and open on to views of the terraces, gardens and park-like grounds.
With no long hallways or closed off spaces, The Hearth is distinguished by its bright, open and cheery living spaces, both inside and out, where residents can come together for conversation, meals, entertainment and recreation, all at their leisure, just like at home.
Betty Bebian, The Hearth’s Executive Director, says she has dreamed of such a place for older adults to live since she was a teenager. “The Hearth is a home,” she says. “We have opened the doors and welcoming our new residents.”
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