Guided by its mission to offer a quality environment for seniors since 1902, a historical nursing home in the District of Columbia recently celebrated its 110th anniversary.
The Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home reached a milestone in its century-long service to seniors like Vaughn Clark, a 66-year-old amputee, who's lived at the home in the historic Mt. Pleasant neighborhood in Northwest for seven months.
"For me, it's perfect, I couldn't go to another place where I'd get such freedom," said Clark who visited three other homes before choosing Stoddard. "I chose to stay here. I need the discipline, the structure and the ministry." Clark is considered a competent senior because he can take care of himself, and he'll eventually get his own place. However, at Stoddard, he gets meals in addition to therapy to help with his amputated leg, along with the infection in his other foot, which landed him in a wheelchair.
Clark is one of 164 seniors at the nursing facility, one in a growing organization dealing with senior care, which has surpassed its original mission. The nursing home falls under the umbrella nonprofit Stoddard Baptist Home Foundation, which guides and supports the affiliated organizations.
In addition to the nursing home, the foundation manages the Stoddard Baptist Global Care at Washington Center for Aging Services, a 259-bed skilled nursing facility with adult day care in Northeast.
Both are skilled, long-term care facilities that focus on the elderly so the differences aren't vast, said Keisha Clark, Stoddard Foundation's director of development.
"Choosing one facility over another is a matter of preference," said Clark, 35. "Stoddard has been known for its affiliation with the faith-based community, mainly Baptist ministers. Supporters in the community may refer or place loved ones at Stoddard because of the historical connection shared with their churches. Some were once volunteers such as the Cabell family."
When it was time for Reginald Cabell to place his wife, Ethel, in a facility after her stroke two days before Christmas in 2006, he didn't consider anywhere else but Stoddard. She is paralyzed on the right side of her body.
"It offers magnificent care," said Cabell, 79, an elder at Southern Baptist Church in Northwest. "If I wasn't satisfied, she wouldn't be here. I'm recommending by experience." Since Ethel was placed at Stoddard in February 2007, Cabell has visited her every single day. Clark nodded her head in agreement.
Cabell continues to volunteer, leading the choir, and he led various activities such as Bible studies, and other volunteer efforts. Every holiday, he looks forward to spending time with his wife and other residents.
The organization continues to expand as plans are in place to develop the Prince George's County Presidential Estates at Sycamore Hill.
"It's a $19 million investment we're trying to get funded," said Clark regarding the assisted-living facility with 72 beds and adult day care services. "We're hoping to break ground this spring."
Stoddard began as a dream for a retirement home for Baptist ministers, their wives or widows. The initial funds came to Stoddard through the heirs of Marie T. Stoddard, a Washington philanthropist of the late 19th century.
Although the name has the word Baptist in it, Clark said it has nothing to do with the church.
"The organization is faith based, hence the word Baptist," Clark said adding that the benefactress Stoddard donated to various causes for African Americans, although it's believed she was Caucasian.
The 24-hour nursing facility is separated into the historical structure and a far more modern edifice. The period structure with its large sitting rooms is reminiscent of a bygone era. The furniture sits exquisitely in the historical side of the building, which also houses many of the 200-member staff.
The more contemporary side of the building is where the residents can be found either watching television, receiving speech therapy, playing games or resting. The home also offers comprehensive programs and services such as cosmetology, occupational and physical therapy, laundry, dental and social services. Recreational activities include religious services, dances, picnics, candlelight dinners, birthday parties and holiday celebrations.
To mark the 110th anniversary, Stoddard hosted a black-tie gala at the National Geographic Museum in Northwest with guest musician, harpist Jeff Majors, in early October.
"I am excited about the pure number of human lives we have touched over these 110 years – be it residents, families, employees, volunteers and the greater community," wrote Stoddard president and chief executive Steven Nash about the anniversary. Clark said that the gala raised $105,000.
Stoddard encourages volunteers to assist in any way they can. One such person was Ronald Dortch from Temple Hills, Md., who, on one frigid Saturday morning in November, dropped off five turkeys and food items for five Thanksgiving baskets at the behest of 10-year-old Chrystal Dortch.
"My daughter got me started on this," said Dortch, 56, who has been donating baskets to Stoddard for two years; but six years in all. "She wanted to help kids in need without school supplies and I realized that others won't have much during Thanksgiving."