Special to the Advocate
Senior adults will once again have the opportunity to retire to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in an innovative, church-related community.
Methodist Senior Services has purchased 20 acres in Harrison County with plans to construct a new Seashore Retirement Community. The property is located north of I-10 on new Mississippi 605 and is adjacent to the First Baptist Church of Gulfport and the Gulfport Highlands development.
The retirement community will consist of apartment homes and cottage homes, as well as Green House® homes licensed as assisted living. The former Seashore Retirement Community, located on Beach Boulevard in Biloxi facing the Gulf of Mexico, was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
MSS has been working since 2006 to acquire land in a desirable location for its latest retirement living project. At the time of the storm, Seashore was home to 189 residents. With plans still being made, no capacity for the new facility has been set.
“This property is centrally located and offers easy access to shopping, health care, major highways and all the amenities of the Gulf Coast,” said Steve McAlilly, president and CEO of Methodist Senior Services. “Katrina may have knocked us down, but she didn’t knock us out. We are as committed as ever to fulfill our mission of serving older adults in the spirit of Christian love. We are excited about building a new community that will help make Mississippi the best place in the country to grow old.”
MSS began the search process after meeting with area focus groups to determine what the campus should look like and what amenities should be available to its residents. Alan Brown, chief operating officer for MSS, indicated that the first phase of construction will likely include apartment homes as an affordable option for residents, as well as cottage homes for those who want even more space. Both will include maintenance services, freeing residents to enjoy retirement. For those who need some help with daily activities, assisted living will also be available. Construction is expected to begin in the spring with completion in 2010.
Methodist Senior Services is the preeminent innovator of housing and services to elders in Mississippi. For more than 40 years, MSS, a non-profit organization related to the Mississippi Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, has provided affordable housing and quality care for elders. Viewed as one of the nation’s leading health and welfare agencies, MSS has 12 campuses in 11 communities throughout Mississippi.
In 2001 MSS began the Green House® movement to revolutionize the way America provides nursing home care for her elders. Based on the Eden Principles developed by Dr. Bill Thomas, a Harvard educated gerontologist, Green House® homes de-institutionalize care for the elderly. Instead of a hospital-like environment, MSS designed a large home with 10 bedrooms and private baths surrounding a large living area called the Hearth. Specially trained universal workers in each home are the primary caregivers who place the residents at the center of life. They are supported and nurtured by a team of medical personnel.
The first homes of this type opened in 2003 in Tupelo. Today, Methodist Senior Services has 18 Green House® homes around the state, and more than four dozen organizations nationally and around the world are following in the footsteps of MSS.
For more information about Methodist Senior Services, visit www.mss.org.