Home HEALTH It Takes A Village

It Takes A Village


Woldenberg Village offers a continuum of care that perfects aging in place.

Woldenberg Village is a retirement community offering a number of facilities that cater to those at different stages of life: those who desire to live independently; those who need some additional support; or for those who need skilled nursing care. “Each facility offers a way to fulfill a different need in the continuum of care,” says Rachel Palmer, director of The Villas Independent Living. “Willow Wood is a state-of-the-art, Medicare-certified nursing facility for those who require around the clock nursing care. The Azaleas is our assisted living facility, which offers the luxury of living in your own home while having 24-hour care tailored to your individual needs. And The Villas is our facility for independent living.”

Founded in 1962 by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, Willow Wood Nursing Home was the first of the three facilities to open and was acquired by Touro Infirmary in 1998. Now a multi-service residential retirement community, Woldenberg Village occupies 17 acres of land on the West Bank of New Orleans.

“It is such a unique campus because we offer the entire spectrum of care,” Palmer says. “Once you move here, you never have to leave. For example, when residents of The Villas have a bad fall or illness, they can go to the hospital for medical care and return to Willow Wood for rehabilitation. Once fully healed, they can either return to their independent living at The Villas or move into The Azaleas if they require a higher level of care.”

Independent Living – The Villas
The Villas is a community of 60 independent-living garden apartment homes. Built to accommodate active seniors, the pet-friendly one- and two-bedroom units feature lofty ceilings; landscaped patios; generous storage spaces; and large, fully furnished kitchens. Other amenities include:

24-hour emergency response system
Smoke alarms and sprinklers in all apartments
24-hour security in the gated community
Scheduled group transportation for activities, errands and doctors’ appointments
Weekly housekeeping and laundry service
Elegant private dining room for small gatherings
Beauty salon/barber shop
Special programs and activities designed for the active senior
Stimulating outings to the symphony, restaurants, museums and city-wide events

“The point of independent living is to be able to make your own decisions,” Palmer says. “Residents move in to The Villas for one of two reasons. Either the adult children are concerned about their aging parents and want to ensure that there is a watchful eye over them while they maintain their independence, or the resident wants to simplify his or her life. Residents often make the choice to move to our facilities because they grow tired of the burdens of home ownership. They are thrilled to have someone else take care of things such as housekeeping, yard work or home maintenance so that they can move in and start living a carefree life.”

The Villas offers the independent senior quality care and an engaging lifestyle. As director, Palmer is most proud of the special events and activities at The Villas including in-house yoga and tai chi for exercise and special outings to museums, parks, music events or the zoo. “We offer a great sense of community — the alternative to aging alone,” Palmer says. “When I meet with families or individuals considering the move, I explain that we offer quality and vitality without the burden. Caretaker burnout is a real thing for adult children, and we can take care of all the errands and transportation to doctors’ appointments so that the families can have more quality time together.”

Palmer, who joined the Woldenberg Village family in March 2014, is a native New Orleanian who earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Loyola University and her master’s degree in social work from Tulane University. She has a varied background in psychiatric adult care and the aging population, and she has worked as a social worker in the fields of domestic violence, hospice and end-of-life care.