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Retiring in comfort at Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community

Clarence and Louise Batten have come to love their lifestyle at Culpeper Baptist.
Two years ago, Clarence Batten suffered a massive heart attack, requiring major surgery. But after the surgery, the doctors at the University Medical Center hit the then 85-year-old with news he didn’t expect.
“They said I couldn’t go home,” said Clarence about the unexpected news from his doctors.

He was shocked. He could no longer enjoy his 4-bedroom home with 2.5 bathrooms sitting on 7.75 acres on Alum Springs Road that he and his wife, Louise, of 64 years had lived in for about 35 years.

Clarence faced about six weeks of rehabilitation therapy following the surgery. After looking at various options, Clarence decided to undergo therapy at the Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community (CBRC) along State Route 15 just south of the Town of Culpeper.

Meanwhile, Louise stayed alone at the couple’s home.

“It was hard,” Louise recalled staying alone at their home and visiting Clarence as he underwent rehab.

With Clarence’s heart attack fresh on the couple’s mind and doctors advising that Clarence could no longer stay at home, the Battens made a decision. It was time to sell their home and move somewhere where Clarence could get the care he needed and they didn’t have to worry about shoveling snow or cutting grass.

The Battens settled on one of the independent living cottages in the sprawling retirement community that occupies about 100 acres.

“I love it here,” said Louise, who worked as a bookkeeper for the CBRC before retiring and was familiar with its services.

Instead of paying someone $150 to shovel snow at their old house, the Battens now look out the window as someone from the CBRC clears the road and sidewalk in front of their single-story, two-bedroom and one-bathroom home.

“They do everything for us,” said Clarence.

Early beginnings

The Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community is the product of one man's dream. In 1931, Dr. James Thomas Edward, pastor of Culpeper Baptist, wanted to build a home for senior adults.

A temporary retirement home opened in 1948 at the Millman House, which was donated.

In March 1949, ground was broken for the main brick building with white columns to provide an independent living opportunity for senior citizens that opened in 1951. Since then, wings and cottages have been added and additional services offered above the original independent living concept.

The first cottage was built in 1964 and that last constructed 30 years later.

The Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation operates four facilities in Virginia. Beside the Culpeper community, other faith-based facilities exist in Richmond, Roanoke and Newport News.

Today, CBRC offers not only independent living but two levels of assisted living, healthcare – nursing home services – and rehabilitation and therapy.

“We are a continuing care community,” said Rose Wallace, director of marketing.

The facility has earned a five-star rating from Medicare and Medicaid.

“We take pride in that,” said Wallace.

The original brick building is affectionately known as the “Big House” to residents and staff.

The roughly 100-acre community also has 27 independent living cottages, which includes 10 duplexes onsite. All told, the facility contains an additional 37 independent living apartments, 47 assisted living apartments and 39 skilled nursing healthcare units.

Financing the future

Currently, the facility has an occupancy rate of about 72 percent. About 25 apartments are unavailable due to renovations.

“We are doing a huge remodeling,” said Wallace.

The renovation project includes upgrading the units, and in some cases combining two units, to make larger apartments

Each resident has an emergency response necklace to summon help 24 hours a day should they experience a medical emergency. Each residential unit also has a pull cord emergency notification system.

Wallace said the community is age-restricted, with 62 being the minimum age.

There are different costs for different levels of service, said Wallace.

Potential residents must meet financial requirements to reside in the community. An entrance fee is required along with either monthly fees for lower level services or daily fees for advanced skilled nursing care.

“We look at monthly income coming in and their assets,” said Wallace about the financial qualification process.

However, Wallace noted that potential residents should look at their current bills and realize that many of those will stop once they move to CBRC. They no longer have to pay utilities, real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance and food bills if they move into an independent living apartment.

“If you average out all the costs of living independently (in your own home), living here is not going to cost more,” said Wallace.

The entrance fee covers a lifetime level of care and the monthly or daily fees cover services provided.

If someone signs a continuing care contract, CBRC will provide services to sustain them in the senior years, whether it is independent living or skilled nursing care. However, fees will change.

“If they are under a continuing care contract and they outlive their resources,” said Wallace. “We have never asked them to leave.”

As an example, a single person in a two-bedroom and two-bathroom apartment would pay an entrance fee of $35,000 and a monthly fee of $2,790. The resident receives three meals a day in the dining room, access to a laundry room, exercise room and other amenities. All utilities are included except cable TV or phone, which are extra. All residents have access to free Wi-Fi no matter where they live in the complex.

An independent living 1,000 square-foot cottage, with two people, requires an entrance fee of $194,450 and monthly fee of $2,400. The reason the monthly fee is lower than an apartment in the “Big House” is because only 20 meals per month are included and cottage residents must pay for electricity and natural gas services. Trash, water and sewer services are included in the monthly fee.

The larger the floor plan, the higher the cost. Almost all cottages feature a carport.

The cottages and duplexes are maintenance free. CBRC maintains all the homes and makes repairs as necessary.

The duplexes are the most expensive, but those dwellings feature a garage, living room, dining room, den, kitchen, laundry room, patio, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Whether living in the main building or one of the cottages, the community has 24 hour security.

Categories of care

Assisted living is divided into two categories – assisted living 1 and assisted living 2. Assisted living one requires minimal assistance, while assisted living 2 offers additional care.

CBRC also offers long-term care.

“We have skilled nursing,” said Wallace about long-term nursing care.

At times, CBRC has space for outside rehabilitative therapy that Clarence Batten used.

“Right now we have nothing,” said Wallace.

The community features three dining areas. The skilled nursing care area has one dining room, while the assisted living has another. All are served by the same staff and kitchen. No one eats in their room.

The main dining room offers a restaurant style menu. Residents order from the menu. There is no buffet line except special occasions.

“Lunch is our biggest meal of the day,” said Wallace. “Old people love that.”

She was quick to point out that they don’t serve dinner in the evening.

“We serve supper,” she said with a smile and laugh.

CBRC also offers numerous activities and free transportation to Culpeper doctor’s offices. Doctor appointments outside Culpeper cost extra. Trips to Wal-Mart are a Tuesday activity.

The main building features a fitness area, library, chapel, post office, game room and beauty parlor. There are also two beauty/barber shops on premises.

Shopping trips, concerts, movies onsite and other activities fill the monthly calendar of events available to residents.

If residents have relatives visit, they need not seek lodging in area hotels. CBRC offers guest rooms and meals in the dining room at reasonable rates.

The Battens’ son and his wife have stayed in guest rooms many times they have visited. The Battens noted that their son may someday live at CBRC.

One woman's story

For 88-year-old Virginia Lynch moving to CBRC made sense.

“I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t here,” said the retired school teacher and former resident of Locust Grove.

Lynch has a two-bedroom and two-bathroom apartment in the “Big House.” She was thrilled to show a visitor her two large walk-in closets and how much space she had. She also has a mini-fridge and microwave in her room.

Several years ago, a cousin asked Lynch if she should be living alone. That question had Lynch looking at other retirement communities, including one in Haymarket.

But Lynch remembered the large structure along Route 15 in Culpeper that her brother and sister-in-law kept pointing out as they drove by. She decided to pay a visit.

“Carol was on duty,” Lynch recalled. “Such a warm reception.”

It didn’t take long to decide.

“Everyone agreed this was the place,” said Lynch. “There was something about the spirit here.”

In 2013, Lynch sold her house and downsized into her new apartment.

“It was easier than I thought,” said Lynch.

The hardest part was finding home for her two cats. Pets are allowed in the cottages but not the apartments.

One thing noticeably missing from Lynch’s apartment was a television.

“I don’t care much for TV,” she said also recalling her high cable bill while living in Locust Grove. “There are TVs all over, if something is going on.”

In fact, CBRC has its own TV station, which is broadcast on a large flat screen and older large screen TVs throughout the main building.

“It keeps people in the know,” said Wallace of the information broadcast on the closed circuit channel.

Lynch was proud that she still could drive and pointed to her car out the window several times.

“It’s not perfect,” said Lynch of living in her apartment. “But what place is?”

However, she is pleased with the services offered.

“Whatever care is needed is here.”

Wally Bunker is a freelance contributor with the Culpeper Times. You may reach him at wallybunker@outlook.com

Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community

Who: Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation
Where: 12425 Village Loop, Culpeper, Va. 22701
What: Faith-based adult retirement community
Services: Independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care and rehabilitative therapy
Housing: 27 cottages, which includes 10 duplex houses, 47 assisted living apartments, 37 independent living apartments and 39 skilled nursing units.
Oldest resident: 105
Oldest current resident: 100
Occupations of some residents: education, agriculture, accounting, medical engineering, ministry, government employees
States of some residents: Virginia, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina
Employees: 154
Phone: 825-2411
Website: www.culpeperretirement.org
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