BENNINGTON — As Bennington is nationally recognized for many things, it has just recently become home to one of the nation's best senior living care providers by SeniorAdvisor.com.
Brookdale at Fillmore Pond, formerly known as Emeritus, was rated one of the best senior living establishments in the nation, alongside TLC Home Care Services in South Burlington and Cedar Hill Continuing Care Community in Windsor.
In order to qualify, providers must maintain an average rating of at least 4.5 stars, have received three or more reviews in 2015 and offer assisted living, in-home care, independent living, skilled nursing or Alzheimer's care in the U.S. or Canada, according to the website.
Brookdale Sales Manager Jennifer Hill said that the ranking is most likely due to senior's family members leaving good ratings. The facility has over 100,000 reviews. It also helps that there isn't a facility of its kind in the immediate area, at least not with independent living cottages.
"It's comforting to families that someone is keeping an eye on their loved one," Hill said.
The facility has 75 independent and residential care apartments in the main three floor building, 14 independent living cottages with full kitchens, one-car garages and a basement, and 12 shared memory care units for those with dementia. There are over 1,100 communities across the U.S. under the Brookdale company. Among the offered, there are also studios, one and two bedroom options in the main building.
Some residents even have a cat, dog, or bird, and Hill said this is possible depending on if the individual is able to care for a pet.
Those selected by Senior Advisor sit in the top one percent of senior care providers in the nation. This is the third year Senior Advisor has released such an award with 2013-2014 being the first of 500 in 42 states followed by 900 providers in 2015. Last year there weren't any senior living home listed from Vermont.
Brookdale sits on 87 acres of land with a large pond, large courtyard, geese and a nature trail. Hill said the socialization aspect is what the residents like the most. It offers restaurant style dining with three meals per day for assisted living and one meal for independent living.
Additionally there is an exercise room, art studio, library with a fireplace, a bistro and a salon.
Hill said the most popular attraction about Brookdale is the social aspect and daily activities planned including TED talks, nightly movie screenings in the living room, occasional trips to Albany, N.Y., Saratoga, N.Y., the Bennington Museum, local restaurants, etc.
"Caregivers love coming to work and the residents feel part of a family," Hill said. "They like to socialize and thrive in this setting. Sometimes it's a lot of work to get out of their house and here they can walk downstairs and also be closer to their family [geographically]."
She explained that a lot of the residents have interesting pasts and generally don't want to be forgotten about if they used to be a professor or doctor. They really enjoy discussion groups and learning about current events as well as live music, cocktail parties and bingo.
Other activities involve woodworking, attending shows at Oldcastle Theatre, live bird watching on computers, and themed months such as Grandma Moses month in the Moses room.
Brookdale has been open since 1978 and offers a variety of payment options including military veteran benefits.
—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.