By Deb Silverthorn
The doors are open, the mezuzah hung and the welcoming smiles — masked of course — abound at The Legacy Midtown Park, which experienced a shehechayanu moment with the passing of its state inspection last week.
“We’re thrilled to be at the first of our three-part opening of this much anticipated, and most appreciated, urban contemporary rental community, which will offer a full continuum of care,” said Melissa Orth, president and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities. “Our Midtown Park healthcare center is open and ready to provide excellent care and services consistent with our longstanding reputation.”
The Legacy Midtown Park is located between Meadow Road and Royal Lane, near North Central Expressway. The inventory includes 54 skilled nursing and rehabilitation rooms, which are open now; 51 assisted living apartments, seven of which are leased; and 36 memory care suites expected to open in October. The 184 independent living apartments, 96 of which are already leased, are planned to open in February 2021.
“Creating, building up and leading senior living communities is a big part of my background and I couldn’t be more proud to be here,” said Midtown Park Executive Director John Falldine, who has more than 20 years of industry experience. “The Legacy is an organization of integrity and everything we do is about our residents.”
Falldine credits his team with coming together in these first five weeks of service and creating a home with open doors, even though, during the pandemic, the doors are slightly less open.
“Our team’s diligence and hard work ensured we were ready for the state’s visit, and our gratitude goes to those who have played a part in making this exciting first step a reality,” said Orth. “It takes a village, and our success is due to our talented project development team, our committed and engaged lay leaders and our generous donors.”
The entire campus shares the healthcare center and on-site medical clinic. Amenities for assisted living and independent residents include several dining venues and a sports pub, each able to meet kosher and special diet needs. There is a wellness and aquatics center with heated indoor pool, beauty salon, a dog park and animal grooming and car washing stations.
The facility includes a chapel with room for more than 200, with Rabbi Michael Cohen as director of rabbinical services and programs. It also has a library, underground parking, golf simulator and putting green, lounge, outdoor courtyard, fire pit and bocce ball court.
“The Legacy Midtown Park is the heart of our Jewish community, minutes from the J and close to so many synagogues, and its residents will be many of the people who have built this community,” said Carol Aaron, The Legacy Midtown Park board chair.
“It’s close to shopping, hospitals and to so many of the family members of our community,” said Aaron. “With an outstanding, experienced and compassionate staff, it is the newest jewel of our Jewish community.”
In the last five weeks, to meet licensing requirements, Midtown Park’s healthcare center has had three residents in its care with rehabilitative, dining and clinical services in action. Friday’s certification came after intense state surveyor reviews, interviews with residents, staff and family members and a complete walk-through of the facility.
“From the day our mother arrived at Midtown Park and since then, the staff has been extremely attentive to her specific needs,” said Jeff Weinberg of his mother Rosalie. The family’s experiences with remotely-managed regular care meetings allowed them to speak with each department head and their mother.
“During this challenging time of COVID-19, The Legacy Midtown Park has done an outstanding job addressing the additional considerations that must be taken into account for everyone’s benefit,” Weinberg said.
For the first time in their almost 74 years of marriage, Lois and Bob Goldberg have been separated as he recovers from some health issues. For the family, who had already experienced a hospital rehab center and at-home care without great success, The Legacy Midtown Park was a welcome respite.
“Dad has had excellent care in the last few weeks with lots of medical attention and physical therapy, both of which we are grateful for,” said Jeri Finkelstein, the couple’s daughter. “We’ve been able to video chat, and visit through the window, but it’s tough to be apart. We are grateful for a team to be caring for him, at every great length, when we can’t be a part of his care.”
“This gorgeous building is filled with highly competent people and I assure you the services that we provide will be the finest,” said Falldine. “Everything we do is from the heart and that’s what has brought it all together, and what will allow us to serve and succeed.”
As Rabbi Cohen hung the mezuzah on the health center entrance, his interpretation of Psalm 30, “A Song for Dedication of the House of David,” was truly fitting.
“Lord, I cried out to you and you healed me,” reads part of Rabbi Cohen’s dedication; “when connection with God is obscured, a moment becomes unbearably eternal but to attune to the presence of the Divine is to be fully alive. Weeping may overwhelm at nightfall, but joy comes with the morning.”
A new morning, one with joy indeed, comes with a new Legacy to our community.