Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community
Since 1955, Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community has been as forward thinking
as it is unique.
Over a half-century ago, the Rt. Rev. George Henry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina from 1948-1974, envisioned the creation of a caring community for seniors. At the time, retirement communities were not nearly as common as they are nowadays; it has been noted that he got the idea after several women in the area, many of them widows, came to him seeking help, at a loss about what to do or where to go to live. His vision was realized in 1955 through a generous gift by Charles and Marjorie Timson, and the community was initially established in the Timsons’ 11-room summer residence on 30 acres of farmland. Since then, Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community (Deerfieldwnc.org) has grown into a prestigious, nationally-acclaimed, nonprofit life care community, located on 125 acres near the Blue Ridge Parkway, approximately six miles south of downtown Asheville.
What makes Deerfield so popular—and desirable? Notes Director of Marketing Kathy Foster, Deerfield “has always been forward thinking, and includes such amenities as a day spa (Riverwalk Spa), a large art studio, pottery studio and kiln, and extensive fitness and wellness offerings. We are able to offer more opportunities than what you might find at other communities.” A community center and wellness center comprise most of the common areas, and Deerfield is clearly proud of its accompanying amenities, which include a handsome lobby, a casual dining bistro, a well-appointed formal dining room, private dining rooms, beverage lounge, outdoor terrace, guest rooms, and a library. Other unique offerings include a bank, a billiards/poker room, an enclosed aquatic therapy center and lap pool, a business center, an aerobics and exercise/weight room, state-of-the-art croquet court, beauty salon, and physical therapy.
Additionally, Deerfield’s Life Care concept offers its residents unique health care benefits, as well as significant financial advantages and security. The Life Care benefit assures the availability of long-term nursing care or assisted living in the Deerfield on-site health center.
Deerfield is also one of the few retirement communities to have its own freestanding chapel, St. Giles Chapel, and a chaplain and associate chaplain on the team. “[There is also] a healthcare chapel in Simonds Health Care Center so that residents in skilled nursing who could not get to St. Giles Chapel had a place to worship,” says Foster. “Its state-of-the-art features include mechanical shades to cover windows, and a screen that mechanically lowers from the ceiling so that the space can also serve as a community activity room for movies and other programs.”
We are able to offer more opportunities than what you might find at other communities.”
Deerfield has remained affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina and is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of leading citizens, business executives, and professionals. The President/CEO, Robert Wernet, and senior management team, including a licensed Nursing Home Administrator, oversee the day-to-day operations of the community and the health center, and implement the policies of the board. At present, the facility employs over 300 staff members.
A 1999 expansion added two mid-rise apartment buildings, cottages, villas, a community center, a wellness and assisted living center, and an innovatively designed skilled nursing center. 2010 brought a second expansion via an 83-residence apartment building and more common spaces. And a current expansion will add 27 new units and an additional 54 residents, to bring the total to over 600.
It’s all testimony to Rev. Henry’s original intention to create and maintain a thriving, caring, and forward-thinking community.
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