Not only is Brooks-Howell a stellar retirement community, but it is also located in the heart of Asheville, North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which has a blend of beautiful landscapes, lovely weather, and a small-town feel. Brooks-Howell residents enjoy the changing leaves in autumn and a bit of snow in the winter.
Residents have the opportunity to enjoy a hike geared toward seniors through the Senior Treks by Asheville Parks and Recreation, or a stroll downtown which is a brief walk from Brooks-Howell. New learning is afforded by picking up a class at the University of North Carolina through The College of Seniors or through the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement. Through the Leadership Asheville Seniors, residents can meet with local officials, advocate for seniors or other special populations, and speak on behalf of peers. This advocacy is in addition to the many other ways residents continue their passion for service they enjoyed before retirement.
Asheville also offers plenty of city life for residents as well as for their family or friends who come to visit. Museums, a lively music scene, and landmarks such as the Biltmore House are ready to enjoy and return to time after time.
We are excited to announce that Brooks-Howell is going to be at the Prime Time Living Health & Retirement Expo! It’s going to be Thursday, July 12th from 1-7 PM at the Lelia Patterson Center in Fletcher. There will be free health screenings provided by Park Ridge Health, as well as Hourly Educational sessions covering Health and Wellness, staying active, safety, and more!
This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone considering retirement options for themselves or a family member. We encourage anyone and everyone to join us. We hope to see you there!
Brooks-Howell will be having a yard sale to benefit the establishment of a Community Medical Clinic, Bear Closet and a Medical Loan Closet located at Brooks-Howell. This event will be held on Friday, July 27th from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm, and Saturday, July 28th from 7:00 am until 12:00 noon here at Brooks-Howell.
While many of you are out-of-town and may be unable to join us, we thought you would like to share in our joy of service to those in need. Our residents continue to embrace and embody our motto “Called, Served, and Serving Still”. If you reside locally, please share this good news and come join us!
Residents at Brooks-Howell and Medicare recipients throughout the country have reason to celebrate these days. Until recently, there was a cap on how much therapy could be provided in a calendar year under Medicare before the individual would have to pay out-of-pocket. But under a recent change in federal law with passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, people who qualify for Medicare’s physical, occupational or speech therapy services will no longer lose coverage because they reached the cap. There is not an arbitrary limit on how long or how much Medicare will pay if the therapy is ordered by a doctor for those individuals with a chronic condition. The therapy must be medically necessary in order to maintain the patient’s condition or to prevent or slow decline.
At Brooks-Howell, some of our residents with chronic conditions may need a few weeks of therapy or may need more consistent therapy. This will enable them to continue to do everyday tasks for themselves as long as possible. It is a win-win situation because the more the resident can do for themselves, the better they feel about themselves. And it reduces the risk of back injuries of their spouse, caregiver or nursing staff who won’t have to do as much lifting of the resident, but can stand-by to assist and make sure the patient is safe.
–Sheila M. O’Connor,Program Director of Rehabilitation Services
This year, Lent begins on Valentines day, and from there it’s forty days (excluding Sundays) until Easter. During this time we enter into a period of self-improvement, seeking to refocus our lives on God. It’s a season of sacrifices but it’s also about taking on new practices and making ourselves into better people. While it’s true that we fast during lent, we also add things to our lives. Prayer, study, and service are some of the things that are commonly practiced during Lent. And while these are all very important, please do not forget another very important practice that many of us struggle with: rest. It can be very difficult to find time to rest between work, school, relationships, family and other responsibilities Resting on the Sabbath is important, but we can also find moments throughout every day to be in God’s presence. We suggest meditation, light reading, and even afternoon naps. When we are well-rested we will feel better physically, mentally, and spiritually.
We hope that everyone has a blessed and restful Lent!
Earlier this month, Brooks-Howell Home celebrated its 60th birthday. The following is a look at its history, the people who made it possible, as well as tangible pieces of history that reside in Brooks-Howell Home to this day.
A Brief History
The need for another retirement home was considered by the Women’s Division of Christians Service (WDCS) of the Board of Missions (now the national office of United Methodist Women) in the early 1950’s. At the time there were three, each with a waiting list. The WDCS had 500 active deaconesses and 500 missionaries under appointment; plus the responsibility for about 250 retirees in each category. All of these were single women. The 1954 Assembly offering was designated as “something for deaconesses and missionaries.” The decision was made for a home and the location was chosen by surveying all active and retired missionaries and deaconesses. Mable K. Howell, for whom BHH is named, had retired to Asheville and was instrumental in the selection of this site.
The house was purchased in 1956 and opened in 1957 as “Brooks-Howell Home” with nine residents. The main building (later named Bethea) opened in 1961. The first expansion was the Chandler-Burris Apartments in 1965, named for Helen Chandler and Emma Burris, the chair of the board of BHH and the WDCS liaison staff person from the New York Office respectively. The Jones-Cadwallader Apartments followed in 1970, and the Cummings Health Unit in 1977.
The Quad was opened in 1994. The Village and Activities Building were built in 1996-97, the latter championed by Deaconess Social Worker Elizabeth Nowlin. Deaconess Helene Hill contributed to the idea of a therapy pool which was constructed in 1998. The Chapel and the Apartments were the final expansions in 2003. All the buildings and units are named for women in recognition of their leadership.
Pieces of History
Brooks-Howell Home has inherited furnishings from the WDCS retirement homes that were open in the 1950s. One is a display case from the Founder’s room of Tremont Methodist Church in Boston, which commemorates the founding of the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society in 1869. Another piece is the grandfather clock from the Bancroft Home (the first retirement home), from 1912. There is also a bamboo display case and two large chairs from Bancroft Taylor.
BHH also has a few pieces from the Robincroft Retirement Home. The Robincroft Retirement Home was once the estate of Jane Bancroft, who later became Mrs. George O. Robinson. The influential deaconess donated her Pasadena, California home, called “The Castle”. The Castle would become the Robincroft Retirement Home. From her home we have beautiful stained glass panels in our Lobby window, a fireplace in the International Room, a richly upholstered settee with matching chairs and a gilt mirror in the Chapel corridor.
Brooks-Howell Home has a rich history, and we truly appreciate all of those whose vision created this Home. We celebrate the millions of United Methodist Women members who supported it through all these years and those who continue to support it with gifts of love, volunteer time, supplies, and their mission giving.
Special thanks to Barbara Campbell and Betty Letzig for this information and their wonderful presentations.
The first ever Brooks-Howell Home Official Cookbook is now available for purchase! For only $10.00 you can get a cookbook that’s packed full with more than 150 pages of family recipes. Each delicious dish and helpful tip was submitted by residents, staff, family members, volunteers, and advisory board members. The book contains international recipes and family favorites alike. It even comes with a download for a free eBook version of the cookbook. They’re limited edition and selling like hotcakes, so come get one while you still can!
Creation care is something near and dear to many of us at Brooks-Howell Home. If you visit here, you will find native plants, natural habitat, a composting system, and a lot of bird feeders!
Today, our Landscape Manager captured this lovely photo of Irma planting radishes, strawberries and sugar snaps in one of the accessible raised gardens. Gardening is just one way our residents and staff work together to take care of Mother Earth year round.
If you’re in the area, stop by and enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of our gardens!
When you visit Brooks-Howell, you never know who you might bump into. United Methodist Women, family members, friends and church family are typically in and out each day.
Every so often, though, you might just have the opportunity to meet guests of our residents–guests who are serving as mission service personnel overseas.
Recently, Fletcher introduced us to two such visitors. Dr. Leonardo Garcia and his wife, Dr. Cleivy Benitez Rivolta, clergy missionaries from Cuba serving at Quessua UMC in Angola, Africa.
Fletcher met Cleivy and Leo while he was serving as clergy in Cuba. They joined us for lunch and afternoon conversation about their mission field. Fletcher served as a clergy with Cleivy and Leo in Cuba. Even when the couple moved to Africa and Fletcher to Brooks-Howell, they have kept in touch through technology.
Leo and Cleivy were initially invited to East Angola for one year to oversee the orphanage, teach at the seminary, pastor the church, and serve as United Methodist Volunteers in Mission coordinators (UMVIM).
“We started with 15 children from our orphanage in our weekly Sunday school. It became a time to provide children a healthy meal, spiritual formation and a safe place to be. Now we have more than 1,000 children coming from various places to various locations. As they age into young adulthood, we are training them to be teachers with us,” Cleivy shares as she eats lunch with some of our residents.
Fletcher sings their praises as he adds, “Cleivy and Leo oversee the church, the orphanage and work at the seminary too. What DON’T they do!?”
After lunch, Cleivy and Leo offered residents and staff an opportunity to join them in the Media Room to hear more about their ministry in East Angola. Their orphanage is actually located near the first United Methodist Church established in that region.
When asked how long they are consider staying, Leo notes, “We were asked to go for one year, and now we have been appointed there for five. We will stay while we are needed.”
We are so grateful to Leo and Cleivy for taking the time to connect with Fletcher and our community here at Brooks-Howell. We will hold their journey and their ministries in our prayers.