East Ridge Retirement Village marks 50th anniversary

By Janis Ehlers….

Pictured at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new East Ridge wellness center are Barbara Sims, president of East Ridge Village Town Hall; Jay Perkins, chairman of the East Ridge board of directors; Cutler Bay Mayor Edward MacDougall; and Troy Hart, president of SantaFe Senior Living.

Like a proud parent showing off a child, East Ridge Retirement Village residents recently invited South Floridians into their community to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the community and showcase its vibrant, active lifestyle.

Conceptualized as a place “complete in all services for the elderly,” the philosophy still holds true today. East Ridge, 19301 SW 87 Ave, is a thriving life-care community providing independent and assisted living, as well as respite care and short- and long-term skilled nursing care for its residents.

The year-long golden anniversary event kicked off with a special ribbon cutting ceremony for the community’s state-of-the-art Wellness Center, which ushers in a new era focusing on wellness and successful aging.
Cutler Bay Mayor Edward MacDougall officially cut the ribbon and was joined by Troy Hart, president of SantaFe Senior Living, which has an affiliate agreement with East Ridge; Jay Perkins, chairman of the East Ridge board of directors; and Barbara Sims, East Ridge Town Hall president.

Following the ceremony, Mayor MacDougall congratulated East Ridge on its rich history and service to the greater community, and presented a proclamation.
“It’s a pleasure for me to be here today,” he said. “East Ridge is part of the community and part of my life. It’s a wonderful place for residents to thrive and grow.”

Cutler Bay Vice Mayor Ernie Sochin and city council members Peggy Bell and Sue Ellen Loyzelle also were on hand for the celebration, as was Palmetto Bay Councilman Howard Tendrich.

Throughout its 50-ear history, which was chronicled in a book The First Fifty Years, compiled by a dedicated group of residents and authored by Robin Sarantos, East Ridge has served over 10,000 residents, logged over 20 million hours of service and care and provided over 8 million meals.

“We view the anniversary celebration as both a tribute to what we’ve accomplished during the past five decades and as an introduction of what is to come in the years ahead,” said executive director Victoria Duvall. “More importantly, we view this milestone as an opportunity to thank our residents for their contributions in making East Ridge the area’s premier senior living community, showcasing state-of-the-art services and amenities.”

During the celebration, guided tours were designed for passengers to stop at various locations throughout East Ridge to experience community living. Each venue offered demonstrations and refreshments.

The Health Services staff provided blood pressure checks and oxygen saturation analysis, while the Garden Club showed their extensive tropical planting found within the community’s 76 tropical acres. A poolside luau featured music by Florida Memorial University’s Steel Drum Band. The tours included many of the landscaped focal points within the grounds, including the Buhler Palmetum, one of only two in South Florida, and the African Baobab tree. The community’s strolling peacocks also roamed the grounds much to the delight of visitors.

Event guests received raffle items generously donated by local businesses, including Blooming Gardens, Cozzoli’s Pizzeria, Cutler Bay Jewelers, Ehrlich Pest Control, Hair Ego Hair & Nail Salon, McKesson, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Publix, Red Lobster, Rodbenders Restaurant, Royal Palm Grill, Southland Mall, Sysco and USA Barber Shop.

Of special significance to East Ridge as it looks towards its future is the community becoming only one of three continuing care retirement communities in the U.S. to be ‘green’ or LEED compliant. Recycling, green cleaning programs and living green practices and programs are part of the environmental efforts for sustainable living.

Gearing the community to both current and future residents’ needs and interests is part of East Ridge’s ongoing focus, with special emphasis on the integration of mind, body and spiritual dynamics for successful aging. East Ridge is a not for profit corporation and is managed by Life Care Services, a leading developer and manager of senior living communities throughout the country.

For more information, call 305-256-3564 or go to www.eastridgerc.com.

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