Editor’s note: The author of this article, Wendi Winters, died in the June 28 attack at The Capital office. Writing Home of the Week was one of her favorite assignments. We run it today in her honor.
The pink and white banner-flags, and the accompanying large oval white, pink and gold sign are the only hint of what lies at the end of the roadway leading off Maryland Route 3 South, just below the road’s intersection with Route 175.
As visitors pull up to 730 Route 3 South, they are greeted by a mini-Eden of garden flowers and greenery, and a wrap-around colonnaded, open-air porch lined with handsome wood and wrought iron benches, wicker arm chairs and white wooden rocking chairs. This is Regency Park, a senior living community with assisted living and memory care facilities, set on a slightly more than 16-acre site bordered by woodlands — and just a short jog from the ball fields of the Gambrills Athletic Club.
Some of the Regency Park residents enjoy ambling over to the ball field to watch school age youth swing a bat and run the bases.
Regency Park first opened in 1983 as a rehabilitation center. When its current owners purchased it in 1999, they renovated the structure, added an addition, expanding it to 25,077 square feet. It was then converted to a residence for seniors.
The residence is licensed to comfortably house 55 residents within 52 private and semi-private resident rooms. 42 are in assisted living, and 13 reside in the Quiet Waters section, a secure unit for those in the later stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Since 2004, Genesis Rehab Services has staffed and operated a therapy clinic and gym in the building, providing physical, occupational and speech therapy. Their office is in the Wellness Hallway, along with a nurse’s office, staffed with four nurses.
Visiting doctors do house calls and, on Thursdays, the on-site beauty salon is open for folks seeking haircuts, styling, manicures, pedicures or massages.
Inside the Regency Park, the interior design is modern, yet comfortable, cozy and very cool. There is an abundance of live plants in the public areas and corridors, and live flowers are arranged on each of the dining area’s tables. This room and the kitchen are chef Lionel McDonald’s domain.
Next to the large, open dining room is a big living room or meeting room area. It has a “see through” gas fireplace that provides a warm glow in the living room and the library area on the other side of the wall.
Executive Director Nisha Switzer, one of 49 staff members, escorts visitors to meet octogenarian Ethel Werner, who lives in one of several neighborhoods — about 10 bedroom units each clustered around a large common living room area. Every bedroom has its own private bathroom with a shower.
En route, Switzer passes a large colorful sign posted on a wall which features a dancing frog proclaiming: “We toad-a-ly love our residents!”
The living room areas feature upholstered and cushioned couches and love seats, plus a table and chairs for jigsaw puzzle aficionados, a large-screen smart TV and Wi-Fi throughout the complex. Some of the residents have brought their pets to live with them — cats, dogs, and birds.
Werner was a longtime travel agency before she retired. “I did a lot of travel,” she said, and claims she had no favorite country or spot. “I liked them all.”
She moved in with her husband who passed away several years ago. Werner has twin sons who live nearby, a daughter in North Carolina, and five grandchildren.
“I didn’t want to live with any of my kids,” she said. “I wanted to live my own life.”
She stays busy playing bridge and other card games, going on off-site field trips, and participating in the “Walk to the White House” walking competition. She is one of 31 participants in that program. The White House is approximately 29.1 miles from Regency Park. Each mile is 2,000 steps.
Werner is among those leading the pack in the contest. She keeps track of the steps she takes daily on her wristwatch pedometer. A sign set on an easel in one of the public areas shows the competitors’ progress.
She is also one of the seniors advocating for a round or oval table in the library — it’s easier to play cards that way, instead of arranging themselves around the current rectangular wooden table.
On the wall next to the door to Werner’s room, a wooden plaque holds a brass plate engraved with her name.
Inside, her room is furnished with a double-sized bed, with a white wicker headboard, is covered with a floral-patterned comforter accented with a stack of coordinating pillows. There is a small refrigerator-freezer for her snacks, two wicker accented-bureaus, a pair of wicker side tables — one topped with a lamp with a wicker base and lampshade, plus a cream leather recliner chair.
On the walls are framed family photos.
She enjoys the meals prepared under McDonald’s supervision. “The food is all good,” she said. “I like the crab cakes and shrimp for dinner. There are five choices for lunch and four or five for dinner each day.”
In one of the dining areas, there is a grand piano. Several residents seat themselves at the keyboard and do impromptu performances for their neighbors. Outside music groups perform at Regency Park, too.
“What’s not to like about living here?” Werner said.
What's it take to be a featured Home of the Week?
Would you like to see your house, townhome, condo, apartment, cottage or cabin cruiser featured as The Capital's Home of the Week? To nominate your home, send Wendi Winters an email with your contact information and details about your residence to email@example.com.