The Verandah front entrance

The Verandah is located at 5851 Gray Market Drive in Lake Charles. Call them at 337-313-0162.

Seniors who thought they were in the winter of their lives are discovering spring again at the Verandah.

"This isn't your great grandma's old folks home," said Pam Van Dyke, Verandah Community Development Director, "and it could cost less to live here than you think."

The Verandah, managed by Sunshine Retirement Living, does things a little differently for its independent, assisted and memory care residents. Staff to resident ratio is higher. Opportunities for engaging physically, spiritually, mentally and socially are many. Activities run the gamut from puzzles to painting, book clubs to Bourre. Transportation is provided to religious services, doctor's appointments and cultural events. The food is delicious. Grounds and apartments are expertly designed, and the memory care facility is state of the art.

"When The Verandah first opened, even our independent living residents had outdated notions about what it would mean to live in the assisted living wing," Van Dyke said. "That's changing. Those same residents are beginning to see assisted living as independent living with extra perks."

Assisted living is perfect for seniors who may need a little help managing medication or individualized, personal assistance in the privacy of their Verandah apartment.

One resident told Van Dyke she was ready to give up until she made the decision -- which she admits wasn't an easy one -- to make The Verandah home.

"I came in at about a 20 percent and now I feel like I'm at 98 percent," the resident said. "I am back to my old self. I feel alive again for the first time in five years."

Kayla Baham, The Verandah Executive Director, visited a new memory care resident at home before he moved in to The Verandah. His cognitive difficulty makes it difficult to verbalize, and his wife communicated for him. On the wall were photos from ski trips. Baham related her love of skiing, the sound of the swishing of the skis through the snow and the feel of the freezing air on her face. When she finished talking, he grabbed her hand and his face lit up with excitement.

"He understood exactly what I was saying," Baham said. "Even though they may not be able to communicate the same as others, individuals with cognitive deficits are understanding, feeling human beings. They need to be engaged."

Van Dyke said some of the residents have expressed that they are living fuller lives and paying less to live at the Verandah than when they had the responsibilities of taking care of and paying for keeping the pool clean, the house in good repair, the lawn mowed, the utilities and taxes paid and the home insured.

"That's what we're here for," Van Dyke said, "to be a lifter of heavy burdens literally and figuratively."

"Living in a senior community not only benefits the resident, but their families, too. People often don't realize the weight they are under until it's not there," added Baham. "Stress naturally develops while helping loved ones with meals, errands, etc. "Then the Verandah provides these services, families can spend quality time together rather than worrying what needs to be done next."

It can be disheartening to see seniors with a diminished quality of life, said Baham. With life's challenges, sometimes they are simply surviving.

At The Verandah, there is a community of peers that support one another. With the services and events offered, residents truly thrive.

"It's all about making a choice," said Van Dyke, a choice to live life to its fullest."

Baham and Van Dyke invite individuals and families who want to find out more about The Verandah to start with a visit to the dining room.

"I just leave the room," Van Dyke said. "That leaves the prospective resident free to ask questions and the current residents free to answer. If they voice one regret about moving to The Verandah, it could very well be they wish they wish they had done it sooner.

Call (337) 313-0162 to schedule a visit today.

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