A Dedication to Connection

 A Dedication to Connection

St. Leonard engages with its residents and the community.

By Amber Lynch

St. Leonard Franciscan Living Community sits on 240 idyllic acres just 10 miles south of Dayton, in Centerville, Ohio. The faith-based, not-for-profit, senior lifestyle community houses 800 total residents and services thousands more in the local community. With a multitude of care options and on-site amenities, St. Leonard has striven to set itself apart in the industry.

In the 1950s, St. Leonard served as a seminary and housing facility for students and faculty of Franciscan Friars Minor of St. John the Baptist Province in Cincinnati. By 1982 the Franciscans, along with members of the local community, had developed the campus into the St. Leonard Center, a low-income housing facility for seniors. Since that time, St. Leonard has grown and developed into an award-winning facility that aims to live out the Franciscan values of reverence, service and stewardship.

“People know us as one of the premier retirement communities in the Centerville area,” says Casey Howard, director of marketing and development at St. Leonard. According to Howard, St. Leonard’s strong roots in the area and its dedication to its core values are what make this living community unique. 

St. Leonard provides a variety of living options for new residents. For those interested in independent living arrangements, St. Leonard offers garden homes, which give residents the privacy of home ownership without the accompanying burdens. They can also choose a more communal arrangement with the facility’s private cottages or its senior living apartments.

St. Leonard also offers assisted living options, with a choice of individual rooms or multi-room suites for couples or those who simply desire more space. There is a skilled nursing and intermediate care facility, a memory care unit for residents with Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related illnesses, and an affordable housing option for moderate-income seniors.

In addition, St. Leonard provides a variety of on-site amenities and activities for residents. A mini-grocery store, a bank, a barber shop, a salon and even a day spa are all located on the St. Leonard campus. Residents are encouraged to take part in the Lifelong Learning Program, which offers seminars and workshops through a partnership with nearby Sinclair Community College. St. Leonard also offers several educational series that are open to both residents and the public.

The newest addition to the facility’s activities roster is the “It’s Never 2 Late” computer software. This system, which was purchased through St. Leonard’s Greatest Need Fund, is designed specifically for seniors. It uses videos, games and other tools to teach new technology to those who wish to learn while also allowing seniors to easily access the Internet and email. It even has therapeutic applications. According to Howard, the system has been invaluable in opening new doorways of communication with some of the residents.

“It allows us to engage with our residents in a more meaningful way,” says Howard. “We’ve seen the biggest impact in the memory care unit, especially with non-verbal residents that we have a tough time connecting with. We’ve seen a lot of improvement in connection.” 

But St. Leonard has not stopped at connecting with its residents alone; it has also made great strides in engaging the local community. The Franciscan Center, a wellness and community center located on St. Leonard’s campus, offers membership to residents and local community members aged 55 and above. 

The center houses an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, day spa and restaurant among other benefits. Members can take part in aquatic and fitness programs or even utilize a personal trainer. Although the Franciscan Center has more than 2,000 members, with nearly 90 percent coming from the local community, many St. Leonard residents actively utilize the facility.

“The [St. Leonard] community is very vibrant and active,” says Howard. “Many of our residents still travel and work.”

The Franciscan center helps more active residents maintain their vibrant lifestyles. It also helps them foster new relationships as they invite friends to the wellness center or interact with members from the local community. According to Howard, these relationships will be carried with them through the rest of their lives. 

But even beyond engaging the Centerville community, St. Leonard has dedicated itself to making a far-reaching positive impact. It recently partnered with the American Institute of American Science to create a nurse aide training program on the campus. The program will help students receive training and become certified as a state tested nurse aide (STNA).

For $300, students will complete several weeks of in-class training along with clinicals at St. Leonard. Howard says that they developed the program in part simply because finding good STNAs was sometimes difficult. The first class was held Oct. 27. For more information about the STNA training program, visit stleonard.com/training.