Catholic Charities Report
New Warde Independent Living Center will provide residents a continuum of care
By Gary Bouchard
Picture above: Architectural renderings of the front entrance of the Warde Independent Living facility, which will connect to the existing Warde Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Windham. Groundbreaking took place last Oct. 5. The facility is slated to open by September.
As mid-summer arrives, the noisy excavation and foundation work of last fall is a distant memory. Final details are being made to Catholic Charities’ new 38,000-square-foot independent living facility on its Warde Health Center campus in Windham. The facility is set to open this fall. Already many people are on a “soft waiting list” to become residents of the independent living community that will adjoin Warde’s existing assisted living and skilled-nursing facilities.
“I can’t wait,” says Bret Pomeroy, the administrator of Warde Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. “It’s been such a long process.” A vision for an independent living facility on the Warde campus was already under way when Pomeroy became administrator three years ago. He eagerly joined in the discussions. “We began with market research, and then early designs. So much careful planning has taken place during the past three years. I’m so happy to be seeing the project near completion, knowing that the Warde Center is moving forward in a direction that can really meet the true needs of people.”
Situated on the site of the former Castle Junior College, which was operated by the Sisters of Mercy, Warde Independent Living “adds to the continuum of care,” says Pomeroy, “by offering what people are looking for relevant to where long-term care is going and where the needs are.” Residents of the new facility will enjoy independent living on their own terms in 21 one- or two-bedroom apartments.
Housekeeping will be provided as well as various optional meal plans in the new dining facility. Residents will also be able to enjoy a wide array of social, cultural, recreational and spiritual programs. And the new facility will include a single-story wing with 10 new assisted living units.
“The connector wing will have a hallway that leads into our current facility, so that people can visit and socialize there, as well as attend daily or Sunday Mass in the chapel,” Pomeroy says. The expansion will bring the total size of Warde Health Center to 59,000 square feet, which includes the existing 68 private rooms for short-term rehabilitation, long-term care and assisted living at Warde Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. “We will still be under a hundred beds,” Pomeroy notes, “and so we will still be able to be quite personal in the care we provide.” Pomeroy, who has worked at facilities nearly twice that size, notes that “something gets lost when facilities are too large to really know the residents.”
Pomeroy sees both the existing and the new facility as rooted in the mission of Catholic Charities as well as the historical mission of the Sisters of Mercy. The sisters built the original facility in the 1950s as an infirmary for aging nuns and as a training ground for women entering the Sisters of Mercy. So for many Sisters of Mercy, the Warde Center was the place where they had their formation. Catholic Charities bought the campus in 2015. Today, about a third of the residents are retired Sisters of Mercy.
“I tell our new employees here that we are so much more than a long-term care organization. We are part of a larger social service organization, Catholic Charities New Hampshire, and that guides how we take care of the elder population in our community. Our goal is to provide compassionate care for the aging population, care that is based in the mission of Catholic Charities.”