All Inclusive–Forest Hills of D.C.
Consumers often associate the words “all inclusive” with resort hotels and cruise ships. However, some local innovators are applying the term inclusive more broadly and offering inclusive senior living.
Inclusive senior living is certainly all inclusive. It is a principle that welcomes residents and families of all faiths and religious backgrounds, as well as individuals from all walks of life, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or identity. Beyond welcoming a diverse population of residents, the concept also speaks to the comprehensive nature of the services provided, which includes care options from retirement through the end of life.
Forest Hills of D.C., formerly known as The Methodist Home of D.C., is offering inclusive senior living at two locations in Washington, D.C. The community provides independent living, assisted living, nursing, and rehabilitation services at a property on Connecticut Avenue. Forest Hills also includes Forest Side, a dedicated Alzheimer’s and dementia care assisted living residence located on Military Road. The historic community recently changed its name to better reflect its overall mission and an enhanced focus on providing comprehensive care for all seniors.
To get a better sense of Forest Hills’ proud history and innovative approach to the future, Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook sat down with Sandy Douglass, NHA, CEO of Forest Hills of D.C. and Mary Savoy, RN, MS, NHA, Administrator of Forest Hills of DC.
SourceBook: Can you tell us a bit about the history of the community?
Sandy: We are so proud to be celebrating our 125th anniversary this year. The community was originally founded by the Methodist Church to serve needy, female church members—hence the name. However, we have grown so far beyond that to provide a continuum of care to the diverse population that we serve today. Over time, our connection to the Methodist Church changed and we evolved into a private, not-for-profit community run by an independent Board of Trustees.
Our most recent milestone was opening Forest Side in 2011. It is a specialized dementia and memory care assisted living. While it is a secure community, it was designed around the neighborhood concept; it is non-institutional, homelike and activities based.
SourceBook: Why did you change your name?
Sandy: Since we are no longer formally affiliated with the Methodist Church, the name was somewhat misleading. Our community is comprised of people from all religious backgrounds and all walks of life. We didn’t want potential residents to feel like we were a community dominated by a specific church culture, since that is not the case. We wanted a name that more appropriately represents who we are today and our vision for the future, so we chose Forest Hills of D.C.
SourceBook: What is Inclusive Senior Living?
Sandy: Inclusive senior living represents the core of our organization. The word inclusive really encapsulates the values that we embrace and the service and care we provide. We are inclusive of residents and families of all faiths and all religious beliefs, as well as those with no religious beliefs. We are inclusive racially, socially and economically. Finally, we are inclusive of seniors in our communities who have diverse needs and offer a continuum of care to serve them.
SourceBook: What should families look for when they are searching for assisted living or dementia care for a loved one?
Mary: I think one of the things that really makes a difference in the quality of care is experience. You need to look for a stable organization with experienced people, who are committed to what they are doing. We have a long-standing staff with the experience to really meet the individual needs of residents and families.