Brethren Village Retirement Community: Gary Clouser, President

by on

With more than 17 percent of the United States population clocking in at 60 years or older, the need for assistance with daily living activities is in high demand. More than one million people are demanding this assistance by residing in retirement facilities.

Brethren Village Retirement Community, located in Lancaster County, PA., is just one of about 33,000 continuing care retirement communities around the country. The community, which has been associated with the Church of the Brethren since 1897, has the mission “to provide a continuum of services and Christ-like care to support the aging process and to enhance the spiritual, physical, social, and emotional wholeness of residents, staff, and community,” according to its website.

Fulfilling the Mission

Whether a potential resident is looking for low-maintenance independent living, a little more hands-on assistance with activities such as dressing and fixing meals, or full skilled nursing services, Brethren Village offers a wide range of services for everyone over the age of 62. Like the other continuing care retirement communities, Brethren Village has experienced the high demand and has more people wanting to move into the community than they have space for.

But according to Gary Clouser, president of Brethren Village, the community he oversees is also unique. This community’s distinction from others in its region is that it “offers such a wide spectrum of services and products in terms of affordability,” Clouser said. He says that regardless of a person’s financial situation the community has a place for him or her.

And the facility is growing rapidly to try to fit the needs of as many people as they can  in accordance to their core values: caring, integrity, stewardship, and excellence. “Because we are a non-profit, and more importantly, a faith-based organization, we filter daily decisions as well as new construction plans to make sure we are true to our mission,” Clouser said.

Rapidly Expanding

Many new construction decisions have been made in the very recent past. Two construction projects have been completed within the last six months, and more are about to get underway.  Sixty affordable-housing apartment units was the first of the recently completed projects. Completely filled by the beginning of summer, these units have a wait list. The other recently completed project, which lands on the other end of the affordability spectrum, was the construction of 21 cottage villas. “These are high-end units that give residents a chance to personalize their units,” Clouser said. Even though they are on the higher end, 20 of the 21 units have already been occupied.

The new developments don’t stop there, though. Clouser said the community’s newest focus is on a new campus redevelopment that is just getting underway. The first phase of the $110 million project will mean another 135 market-rate apartments. The construction doesn’t start until later this year, but Clouser says the units are already selling well. The rest of the $110 million will go toward a 120-bed skilled nursing center, 36 assisted living units, and 25 assisted living and memory support units and welcome center.

Being a non-profit organization, Brethren Village is supported not only by the Church of the Brethren but by other local and state groups. Several different organizations helped fund the Village’s new construction projects. The recent developments have been built with the help of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Clouser says he doesn’t see more affordable housing construction on campus, the balance of new construction will be “toward market rate construction.”

He credits two reasons for the Village’s recent success. First, Brethren Village has a good reputation for providing value and quality service. And second, the package of services offered residents. The package offered residents of the newest 135 apartments for, example, offers to refund almost all of the entry fees when residents leave, whether it be death, a change in health, or other reasons.

Giving Care

Although the biggest focus has been on new construction, quality care is also a big part of Brethren Village’s attraction as well as a concern, according to Clouser. “Availability of staff is a challenge to us and every health care organization,” he said. “We have to think about how we attract and retain staff.” Still Brethren Village employs 450 team members, which means close to a 2:1 resident to team member ratio. And these 450 team members do a lot for the community’s residents. Services they afford their residents include social activities, transportation services, on-campus shopping and banking, dining services, and church services. Brethren Village staff also looks out for their residents’ well-being by offering several exercise programs including aquatic classes and cardiovascular and strength training.

Brethren Village even reaches beyond their own on-campus community. The Home Health Services includes homemakers and LPNs with RNs overseeing both. Whether in one of the Village’s independent living apartments or in a home off-campus, patients can receive services ranging from bathing and dressing to meal preparation and even companionship.

Whatever services Brethren Villages provides for their clients, Clouser credits team members for the community’s success.

-by Lindsay Robison

VN:F [1.9.7_1111]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.7_1111]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: