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Seniors Find A Home With A Heart At Presbyterian Retirement Community

By Pamela Sosnowski

When a loved one grows older, finding the ideal living arrangement for them can be a concern. Lakeland's Florida Presbyterian Homes (FPH) offers a retirement community that truly cares for its residents. We are known as "the Home with the Heart,'" says Jennifer Olivier, FBH's public relations manager. "There is a strong feeling of friendliness and belonging here. Residents and staff demonstrate compassion every day."

FPH is located on 48 acres bordering the shores of scenic Lake Hunter in Lakeland's Dixieland neighborhood. The community is comprised of 109 houses, 66 apartments, and 45 assisted living apartments. The streets are lined with sidewalks, trees, and landscaped lawns that provide a close-knit neighborhood setting. Residents enjoy a variety of commodities including a heated pool with a hot tub, two libraries, fitness facilities, art studios, a dining room overlooking the lake, and a chapel. Group transportation regularly takes residents into town for shopping and dining excursions as well as trips to cultural events and other attractions.

Most importantly, the safety, health, and well being of FPH's residents are top priority for its employees, many of which have worked at the retirement community for decades. "Independent residents in homes and apartments have peace of mind knowing help is just a phone call away," says Olivier. "In an emergency situation, they can press their pendant or one of the many pull cords in their home." Residents have the option of requesting assistance with daily activities depending upon their level of independence. The campus also features 24-hour security and an award-winning health care center that provides medical care and around the clock nursing care.

FPH's roots can be found in the Presbyterian church. It was founded by Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lakeland in 1955 when a pastor was called on to visit an elderly guest living in a local hotel because he had no other place to go. Thanks to the contributions of others, a home was purchased to provide a place to live for ten seniors. Since then, the retirement community has grown to accommodate over 300 residents.

The Christian values that helped form the community are still alive. The community welcomes people of all faiths, and provides many activities to foster spiritual growth including Sunday morning worship, a weekly bible study, weekly prayers and meditation, and support groups. Baptisms and weddings are also performed at the FPH's chapel.

Life at FPH can best be summed up by one of the glowing testimonials from a resident on the community's website: "I feel just like Dorothy did when she said, 'There's no place like home.' In my home at FPH, I feel safe, secure, needed, and loved."

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