by Nat Frothingham
MONTPELIER — As part of a board-approved name change that became effective on April 1 — The Gary Home, a Main Street landmark for 75 years and counting — will become The Gary Residence.
Already there’s a new sign over the front door: “The Gary Residence.”
In a recent meeting at The Gary Residence a few days ago, Executive Director Dawn Provost explained the logic behind the name change and then talked about a makeover project already underway to give the first floor common spaces of The Residence fresh paint and color, more light and a new, contemporary look.
Here’s how Provost explained the April 1 name change, “In an effort to provide clarity to its mission and to its level of care, the Board of Trustees of OM Fisher Home, a local non-profit charitable organization, have approved changing the name of The Gary Home to The Gary Residence.”
When The Gary Home first opened its door in 1941, it provided lifetime skilled nursing care. But over the years as new state regulations took effect, what was The Gary Home became a licensed Level III Residential Care Home.
So — over the years the level of care has changed and the new name “The Gary Residence” expresses that. “We’re not just a skilled nursing home,” Provost said. “You can keep your car here. People can have their mobility.”
Despite the name change, what hasn’t changed, said Provost, “are the values of warmth and caring and the same great care that has always described the experience of living at The Gary Home and now The Gary Residence — these things endure.”
In recent years, what has changed noticeably are the residents themselves who are living longer, staying active, and who can be seen outdoors, walking downtown, going to the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, voting, shopping, visiting with friends on the street and visiting Montpelier’s popular farmers market in good weather.
“The range is 80 to 100,” Provost said, “Mid-80s and up,” Provost said about the age range when people typically come to live at The Gary Residence. “We just had a lady come in,” she remarked, “she’s 102.”
“On come the baby boomers,” said Provost happily about the generation of people born after World War II.
“We’ve been here for 75 years. We want to stay current and up-to-date” and the changes to the paint, flooring, windows with added color and light promise to give a fresh look to the downstairs common rooms — the Sunroom, the Dining Room, the Middle Room, the Library — once these changes have been made — the whole downstairs will show off The Gary Residence in Provost’s words as “a place of classy elegance.”
On the day of our visit, the Residence was humming with activity. A workman was moving furniture out of one room into another. Someone else was running a vacuum cleaner. In the Library, John Snell of the Montpelier Tree Board was giving a talk about trees in the capital city. In another room a resident was sitting for an artist who was creating a likeness of him out of clay.
“Light is very important,” said Provost. “Color is very important.” So, too, at The Gary Residence is yoga, tai chi, gardening, and the pleasure of dining, talking, laughing and sharing life with others.
Please go online to www.thegaryresidence.com for further information about The Gary Residence. The Gary Residence will hold an Open House on Thursday, May 25 from 3 to 7 p.m. and Friday, May 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors are invited for refreshments and an opportunity to view the Residence’s new upgrade plan.