New Peabody Place Formally Opens After Celebratory Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Current members from 80-year-old facility moved into new senior living community April 2

A celebratory crowd of employees, board members, employees, friends, dignitaries and contractors were on hand at the brand-new Peabody Place to gather, tell stories and raise a glass to the completion of phase one of an ambitious renovation project. The formal ceremony took place on Thursday, March 31 and less than two days later, all members of the 1940’s era former Peabody Home began moving as the inaugural first members of Peabody Place.

“The work here started 80 years ago when four ladies bought the property and had a vision,” said John Benham, a long-time board member and volunteer who chairs the building committee. “The board had a vision for the new Peabody Place, which we have been working towards for the past six to eight years, with the understanding that we had to continue what started 80 years ago. Now, we’re ready for another 80 years.”

Peabody Place is pet-welcoming and features well-appointed apartments with private bathrooms, oversized windows and unique views of the Winnipesauke River. Amenities include common space for gathering on all floors, a 24-hour emergency response system, memory care services, apartments in a dedicated section of the building, personal transportation services, a beauty and barber shop, an exercise and wellness room and easy access to downtown Franklin.

“This home may be new but it’s a continuation of the work of many generations,” said Chris Seufert, who chairs the Peabody Place Board of Directors. “We would not be here today without the great work of our contractors, engineers and architects or without the many city officials and others who had a vision. It does take a village and a village can make a dream become a reality. You all dreamed big, and it is exciting to welcome residents into the new living space.”

Over 50 special guests attended the ribbon cutting ceremony on the afternoon of March 31 and enjoyed the remarks, a champagne toast, first-peak tours of the finished space and a sampling of the high-quality cuisine that is available to Peabody Place members. The following Saturday, dozens of volunteers helped move the current members living in the old building a few hundred yards into their new homes.

Franklin Mayor Jo Brown recalled old memories of playing the grand piano with her grandmother in the old building and on how the new Peabody Place embraces a forward of senior care. “I want to thank Executive Director Howie Chandler for moving the focus away from a nursing-focused medical facility and towards a whole person inclusive community of people that are coming in. The Peabody team is at the forefront on this,” she said.

The first phase of the project is now completed and is dedicated to individuals interested in an assisted living environment. Upon completion of phase two, the 63,632 square foot Peabody Place will more than double its original capacity and will include 45 assisted living apartments, 13 memory care apartments and 16 independent living apartments.

Funding totaling $26 million was approved through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development’s Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program in November 2020.

“New Hampshire and Vermont have two of the highest median ages,” said Eric Law, rural development community program director for the N.H./Vt. region of the USDA. “Our communities need quality, affordable elderly care and Peabody Place is a prime example of that. On behalf of USDA Secretary Vilsack, I want to congratulate you all. From your USDA, a sincere congratulations.”

The building was designed and built by EGA P.C. Engelberth Construction and the engineering work is being conducted by Nobis Engineering, both of Concord, N.H. Advisory work is being provided by New Hampshire-based RS Consulting and North Country and the Northern Community Investment Corporation, in St. Johnsbury, Vt.

Engelberth CEO Pierre Leblanc was also on hand for the ribbon cutting. “We built this new building through the pandemic and I’m so proud of everyone here. Our team and the many subcontractors that worked with us faced challenges, labor shortages and more to get to this point. It was pretty incredible to see everyone persevere. Now we’re going to go to locker room and regroup and kick the next phase into gear,” he said.

The original building will be torn down in mid-April to make room for phase two. This will include constructing a new independent living facility on that location. Both phases are being integrated into a single three-story building that features a granite and brick façade and large manor windows. Phase two is expected to be completed in late 2022.

Photo courtesy of Peabody Place. Photo caption (left to right) Franklin Mayor Jo Brown, Peabody Place Chair of the Board of Directors Chris Seufert and Engelberth CEO Pierre LeBlanc at Peabody Place ribbon cutting ceremony on March 31, 2022.

In a few short days, we’ll be home

Last week, we furnished and decorated one of our suites to give you an idea of how homelike and incredibly comfortable the private rooms at our new Peabody Place will be.

Our new home is roomy with all the luxuries of home – cable, Internet and individual climate control keypads. Most importantly, the space is bright with lovely floor-to-ceiling windows to let in ample natural light, which is important for our spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Substantial common space is also warm, bright and inviting.

An alternative view of the living area showing the kitchenette and the large window view.

Our elevators run so quietly and smoothly delivering passengers to whichever floor they need to go. Right now, that’s tradesmen and staff only, but this weekend, it will be family members and volunteers making the much-anticipated move to our new building.

Our old home is bustling with activity as we’re working hard to get all our family members’ belongings and personal possessions packed, labeled and ready for Saturday’s big move. With only a few days left, we feel a bit like kids the night before Christmas eagerly waiting for the arrival of Santa Claus.

In a few short days, we will finally be in our gorgeous new home.

A view of the studio bedroom with a lovely blue accent wall.

Our special thanks to Corporate Member Chuck Motta for his help putting the finishing touches to this beautiful space and to the Grevior Furniture Store family, right here on Central Street in Franklin.

Peabody Place Readies for Opening

Brand-new state-of-the-art senior living community to open in early Spring

As finishing touches including window treatments, furnishings and décor are put in place, the long-awaited brand-new Peabody Place will open this spring and welcome individuals who are in need of assisted living. Construction on phase one of the $26 million residential senior living community is scheduled to be completed in early March. Current members living in the original 80-year-old Peabody Place (formerly known as Peabody Home) will begin moving in later in the month while new members will be welcomed in April.

“We are very excited to welcome current and future Peabody Place members to this new residential community that has been designed and built for their comfort and lifestyle,” said Howard Chandler, executive director of Peabody Place. “Assisted living is a wonderful option for those who might find living at home alone to be a bit of a challenge. As a nonprofit, community-based organization, we have no entrance fees and focus on offering affordable and attractive option for care and quality of life. Our doors will soon be wide open for individuals and their families to begin a new, exciting chapter of their lives at Peabody Place.”

Peabody Place is pet-welcoming and features well-appointed apartments with private bathrooms, oversized windows and unique views of the Winnipesaukee River. Amenities include common space for gathering on all floors, a 24-hour emergency response system, memory care services and apartments in a dedicated section of the building, personal transportation services, a beauty and barber shop, an exercise and wellness room and easy access to downtown Franklin.

Construction of the new 63,632 square foot facility is being done in two phases. Once completed, Peabody Place will more than double capacity and will include 45 assisted living apartments, 13 memory care apartments and 16 independent living apartments.

“We’re ready to roll out the welcome mat at Peabody Place,” said John Benham, who serves on the Peabody Place Board of Directors and chairs the Building Committee. “So much thought and attention to detail have been put into this effort and we’re thrilled to begin welcoming individuals to a place they will be proud to call home.”

The first phase will be the future home for individuals interested in an assisted living environment. After phase one is completed, the original building will then be torn down and phase two will include constructing a new independent living facility on that location. Both phases are being integrated into a single three-story building that features a granite and brick façade and large manor windows. Phase two is expected to be completed in late 2022.

Current members who live in the original 1942 Peabody Place (formerly called Peabody Home) will move into their new apartments first. Then new members will be able to move in after. Those interested in learning more and exploring living opportunities are encouraged to contact Peabody Place quickly given the demand for these services. For more information, contact Marylee Gorham at 603-934-3718 or [email protected].

Siding, Dining and More

Construction

These are busy days on the construction site! Outside we have the new sewer line being connected. The vinyl siding installation continues. The roofing crew was back in this past weekend. Interior walls are mostly in. Wiring, plumbing, and mechanical work are all ongoing as is sheetrocking and fire sprinkler system installation. Windows are now all in and we are close to being 100% weather tight. Work on the entrance roadways will happen this week that will require the construction management trailer to be moved and we expect that our emergency generator will be set in its new home this week as well. Right now, the best place to take in the view of the work in progress is from across the river at Odell Park. It is going to be a big – but not an overbearing – building!

Behind the Scenes

While not nearly as glamorous as new construction, we also have several internal projects going on in anticipation of moving into the new building. Chief among them is a restructuring of our dining services department. With Mariah leaving us to pursue other career options we have partnered with Glendale Dining Services to direct our dining services. They will be starting with us in October. They have a tremendous amount of experience in retirement community dining, and they are the perfect partners to not only move us from the old building to the new – but also to introduce an entirely new dining program that is specially designed for our new memory support, assisted living and independent living members.

The Dutch Uncle

All too often I have seen people wait longer than they should have to make the decision to help a loved one move into an assisted living center. It is understandable. Your loved one doesn’t want to leave home. The caregiver spouse inevitably feels conflicted. S/he wants to do what is best, wants to do what their ill spouse wants, doesn’t want to look as though they have given up and as a result does nothing. Oftentimes two things happen: first of all, the caregiving spouse becomes exhausted and depressed – and understandably so. The second thing is something that we who work in eldercare see —but that a caregiving spouse does not. We see how much better people do after they join us as residents. This is not a reflection of the care provided by the well spouse. There is only so much that one person can do, and oftentimes it necessarily results in a degree of social isolation for both. We provide that socialization and with it a wonderful improvement in quality of life. We are not here to cure people of being old – we are here to help people smile regardless of their age or situation! We do not take the place of the Caregiving Spouse – we assist her/him in improving quality of life by adding smiles to the years!

Choosing assisted living is not about giving up, it is about opening the door to a new and exciting chapter. Please reach out to us for more information!

Wrap Up

I could not be more proud of our staff —a staff whose approach to problem-solving reminds me of the unofficial motto of the U.S. Marine Corps which is to improvise, adapt and overcome. Between construction disruption and COVID, we have had ample opportunity to improvise new solutions with the resources that we have, to adapt long-held ways of doing things in favor of what is needed today, and overcome many and different kinds of barriers. These are very different and challenging times – but our staff has been up for the challenge!

Until next time,
Howie

What Makes Peabody Place Different from the Rest?

There used to be a huge difference between not-for-profit retirement communities and private sector retirement communities. Not so much anymore. In general, both private and not-for-profits have abandoned the ‘middle’ market and have gone straight to the ‘high’ end of the market. Although we have a tremendous County system that does a great job for those at financial risk – most people – those who are in the “middle” – have been abandoned.

Not by Peabody Place! At Peabody, we have not forgotten our heritage. We were created by the community to serve the community — and that is what we continue to do both now and with our new expansion. I do not want anybody to think that just because we will have a new building that we are going to become ‘exclusive’. Not at all!

You will pay a lot more elsewhere — but you will not get more. Sometimes people assume that they cannot afford assisted living or nursing home level care and are surprised after talking with us to find that they can! Please do not be reluctant to give us a call to explore options either for some time soon or to plan for the new building. You just might be pleasantly surprised!

Construction Update

Why do we have ‘Fuzzy Steel Beams’? All of our structural steel will be fireproofed with a sprayed-on coating. That process has started and will continue until done. The installation of roof trusses continues, and the mechanical contractor continues with first-floor drain line installation in advance of pouring the floor. Today we also received a visit from the gas company and there is speculation that our existing service might need to be ‘lowered’ during construction. Later this line will be removed when the new building opens. I will let you know more as I learn more.

I hope you can get out to enjoy this weather — the weather that we all hoped we would have had for this past weekend!

Howie

There’s a lot going on here at Peabody Place!

With much appreciation to some great weather, our construction is back on schedule! Today they started to install the roof trusses which will transform the look of the new building from that of a box to that of the Home that it is destined to become. The second and third-level floors have been poured and as soon as the plumbers finish with their drainage lines, the first level floor will be poured as well. I will guess that by the end of next week we will have most of the roof closed in and maybe the first level floor in as well. After that, the framing for the walls begins and things will get busy as all the trades arrive to start their work. Earlier today I posted to Facebook a panoramic photo of our view from the third floor – and it is truly spectacular. Please check it out – and while you are there please ‘Like’ our Facebook Page!

A Marketing Moment

Did you know that you do not have to wait until the new building is done to be able to join us for Assisted Living? Give us a call so that we can explain how making a move sooner instead of later just might be the best thing that you can do for yourself and for your family. We only have a couple of rooms available making it more important than ever to act now instead of later.

Did you know that Peabody Place represents the best value in the Lakes and Three Rivers Region? We are a true not-for-profit that remains committed to staying affordable to as many people as possible. Call us today (934-3718) to find out more!

Dutch Uncle

That’s me, and this is where I offer unsolicited but benevolent advice based on my 40+ years of experience in retirement housing, nursing homes and assisted living centers. I have seen many people put off the move to assisted living for far too long — but I have never seen anyone regret having moved a bit too early. It is hard to leave one’s home — no question about it. But when the time comes, it is better to do so on your terms then it is to have the terms controlled by changing circumstances. I am fortunate in that over the years I have helped to welcome hundreds of people make the transition and almost all blossom shortly after arrival because of increased socialization. Let’s be candid — for many people living alone is not a bowl of cherries. It can lead to loneliness and social isolation. We old Yankee types grew up with the notion that living on our own is always what is best. It is just not true!

And there is more (I can’t resist a soapbox). Assisted Living is oftentimes the best possible insurance you can have to protect you from the need to move to a nursing home. I don’t say that because nursing homes are bad – but I do because nursing homes are a lot more expensive. For many people living in a supportive residential environment (assisted living) – is all they will ever need.

Essentially people have two choices. You can wait until you absolutely, positively have to leave your home – at which time your options could be unavailable, limited or very expensive. Or, you can choose to make the transition on your terms and control the process. I recommend the latter. We are here to help you sort out all of the various options that you have to choose from and there is absolutely no cost or obligation. Whether or not you choose to move, whether or not you choose us if you do – we are here to help. Just give us a call!

Very Special and Caring Individuals Needed!

I am sure you have seen the signs and all the ads in the paper for “Help Wanted,” and we are no exception. The good news is that with such a dedicated staff that position openings are infrequent. Our best staff come from personal referrals and with that in mind, I hope that if you know any LNAs or unlicensed caregivers, that you will suggest to them that they give us a call. We also have a full-time opening in dining services. While we would of course prefer full-time, year-round staff — we would also welcome students for summer-only work.

Covid Update

It has now been over 14 months since we closed the door to open visitation! While we cannot throw that door open wide in the way we would like – we are able to open it a little wider than we have been able to.

It is a bit of a balancing act. We need to abide by the rules/regulations/guidance of the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services and the Center for Disease Control – and we need to protect the emotional well-being of our members and their families. All visits still need to be scheduled in advance, but the frequency of vaccinated visitor visits can increase. Visitors need to plan in advance, sign-in/screen-in just as we continue to do as Staff – and just like Staff visitors will need to wear masks. And there is more, residents can (by prior arrangement) now be taken out with vaccinated family and friends and not have to quarantine upon their return. We have already notified Dairy Queen to expect a sudden rush of customers that they haven’t seen in 14 months. Prior arrangements do have to be made — and the more notice the better. This is a wonderful step in the right direction!
If you have not already done so — please consider getting vaccinated. Nobody is more vulnerable than our members and we want to do everything we can to protect them — and right now the best thing is for us to be vaccinated so that nothing will come between us and getting things back to “normal.”

Wrap Up

Last summer was one where one thing after another was canceled. There was no summer. This year is looking very different as restrictions increasingly are relaxed. Best Wishes to all for a very special Memorial Day Weekend.

Howie