Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

S Shopper Stories


THE CROSSINGS AT HARBOUR VIEW

A warm continuum of care as residents’ needs change


Jim O’Hara and daughter Noelle O’Donnell during a recent visit

Jim O’Hara and daughter Noelle O’Donnell during a recent visit

For Western Branch resident Noelle O’Donnell, The Crossings at Harbour View is more than just her father’s home. The rental community for seniors in North Suffolk has also brought peace of mind to Noelle and her family.

Noelle’s father, Jim O’Hara, 80, gave up his Lynchburg home and moved into one of The Crossings’ 83 independent living apartments shortly after it opened in 2015.

The campus, which also has 68 assisted-living apartments and 24 memory-care suites, offers a continuum of care based on each resident’s medical needs, according to Director of Sales and Marketing Christel Hoy.

After a recent medical issue, Jim transitioned into an assisted-living apartment. The move was rapid and flawless, completed by movers in just a few hours. The apartment was ready when her father was released from the hospital.


Jim’s move (to assisted living)
was rapid and flawless,
completed by movers in just a few hours.
“That’s important when I’m still working and dealing with everything.
This move is reassuring for our family.”

—Noelle O’Donnell, resident’s daughter


“That’s important when I’m still working and dealing with everything,” Noelle says. “This move is reassuring for our family. When he wasn’t feeling well and in independent living, I did tend to worry more.”

“Dad is feeling much better now,” she adds, laughing and waving when she spots him playing Bingo in the upstairs activity room. Wearing his customary red suspenders, Jim pauses only long enough to greet his daughter.

 “The staff here is amazing,” Noelle attests. “Residents are treated with dignity, kindness and patience. Those attributes are extraordinarily important with seniors in making them feel warm, important and safe.”

Jim also serves on The Crossings’ Buildings and Grounds Committee, one of several resident advisory committees at the facility. The group meets monthly and takes any suggestions for change back to Crossings management. Residents can also serve on the welcome, dining or activities committees.

“This is their home and we want their input and suggestions,” Christel says. “Most of our residents led professional lives and this gives them a sense of purpose. It’s a chance for them to give back and it makes for a stronger, better community.”

The Crossings takes the committees’ requests to heart and whenever possible, makes the suggested changes, she adds. For example, new benches installed along the walking trail were the brainchild of the buildings and grounds committee.

A plethora of other onsite amenities are available: a fitness center, library, computer center, beauty parlor/barber shop, dining room, 24-hour concierge service and scheduled transportation for residents. Rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy, are also offered onsite.


Frank and Peggy Hawkins have been married for 65 years. Frank lives in an <BR>independent living unit and Peggy in a memory care unit.  They spend every day together.

Frank and Peggy Hawkins have been married for 65 years. Frank lives in an
independent living unit and Peggy in a memory care unit. They spend every day together.


Residents can participate in an array of activities, including fitness and yoga classes, movie showings in The Crossing’s onsite theater, complimentary manicures, craft classes, happy hours, billiards, Bible studies and worship services.

Like Noelle, resident Frank Hawkins, 87, also appreciates the quality of care provided by staff. He and his wife, Peggy, 89, moved into The Crossings from their Western Branch home last October, roughly one year after Peggy had suffered a stroke.

As Peggy became increasingly dependent upon Frank as her primary caregiver, the couple’s children, Debra Woodward and Keith B. Hawkins, approached them about moving to The Crossings.

Now, after 65 years of marriage during which they were rarely separated, Frank resides in an independent living apartment and Peggy lives in Harmony Square, the memory-care unit at The Crossings.

 “Being at The Crossings brings me a sense of relief...because I feel free to go out and do things when I have to,” Frank says, a retired banker and business professor at Averett College’s Hampton Roads’ campus. “I can go to the doctor or to meet workmen at our house, which is up for sale, and know that Peggy is safe and being well taken care of.”

The couple had planned to live at The Crossings long before the move became medically necessary.

“We had had our eye on it ever since it was under construction three years ago,” Frank says. “We stopped by when only a trailer was on the lot, looked at the building plans and thought we would like to come here when the time came.”

For the Hawkinses, the proximity was a big selling point. The Crossings is convenient to both children: Keith lives in Western Branch and Debra in North Suffolk. The fact that several friends live there also appealed to them.

Frank and Peggy Hawkins’ love story began in December 1953, when they married after a whirlwind courtship and immediately moved to Germany for Frank to complete his stint in the U.S. Army. The two — who graduated from Virginia Tech and Madison College (now James Madison University)—  had met earlier that year when they were in the wedding of their respective college roommates.


“We had had our eye on it
ever since it was under construction...
we looked at the building plans and thought we would like
to come here when the time came.”

—Frank Hawkins, resident


Although they are in separate apartments, Frank still spends a good part of every day with his wife. He goes to her room every morning and regularly takes Peggy, in her wheelchair, to dinner in the dining room. Although her medical condition has left her unable to converse easily, he frequently wheels her down the hallways where old friends can speak or wave.

Every night, Frank and Peggy went to sleep holding hands. And although they are in different apartments, Frank makes sure she still falls asleep with the comfort of his hand in hers.

“Every night, I watch her go to sleep. I’m able to hug her, kiss her and tell her I love her,” Frank says. “Sometimes, she’s able to say ‘I love you,’ too. That’s the message she gives.”

The Crossings has started a Caregivers Support Group, with a focus on helping the caregivers of people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The support group meets at the retirement center at 2 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month and is open to the public.

Frank says he has found the input of other people in the same situations helpful.

“It’s good to have someone who is going through the same experience to talk to,” he adds. “They understand.”

Editor’s Note: Peggy Hawkins passed away on May 17, one day after the couple’s 65th wedding anniversary.




The Crossings at Harbour View

5871 Harbour View Blvd.
Suffolk, VA 23435

757-214-6279
http://www.thecrossingsatharbourview.com