Parsonage Cottage Senior Residence Celebrates 25 Years

Parsonage Cottage Senior Residence was established 25 years ago on March 6, 1997, as a 40-bed senior home, providing a safe, caring environment in a congregate setting that promotes and ensures happiness, comfort, and well-being of its residents.

Now, years later, Parsonage Cottage continues to be a priceless resource for the seniors in our community who wish to remain in Greenwich.

Tamara Smith, Fred Camillo and Penny Lore. Contributed photo

Parsonage’s approach focuses on giving residents various experiences to enable them a thriving and fulfilling lifestyle while acting as their partner for independent living in a unique and warm environment.

Longtime Executive Director Penny Lore and her staff provide care for the adult residents at Parsonage, notably Tamara Smith, who has been at Parsonage since the facility opened in 1997. At that time, Parsonage had a staff of 12. Fast-forward to today to a 24-hour team of 19.

“It’s really the people that make the difference. Parsonage Cottage has a caring staff, a hard-working Board of Directors, and every resident is treated as a family member in a warm and home-like environment,” said Lore in a release. Lore celebrated 20 years as Executive Director last year.

According to Lore, the residents’ average age is 80, and the typical length of stay is five years, but they have had residents who have lived there for more than 15 years.

“We really do cherish our residents’ happiness, dignity, and pride,” she said.

A longtime supporter of the assisted living facility, First Selectman Fred Camillo also enjoys the time he spends there.

“Visiting Parsonage Cottage is always a great experience for me. We are so fortunate to have a resource like Parsonage for the past 25 years. I congratulate Penny Lore and her extraordinary staff,” Camillo said in the release.

The charming “Cottage” has bright, well-appointed rooms with en-suite private baths and age-friendly walk-in showers and includes housekeeping. Three nutritious meals, prepared by full-time chefs, use fresh, seasonal ingredients daily in the recently renovated dining room. Special diets receive individual attention, and snacks are served around the clock, including an Espresso Bar and specialty Happy Hours.

Additionally, Parsonage Cottage strives to keep residents connected to the Greenwich community through extra-curricular activities, productive relationships, and several community partnerships.

Parsonage interacts with Greenwich Botanical Centers, Greenwich Country Day School Center for Public Good, Sweet Readers, the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, and several others. In addition to a Board of Directors, Parsonage Cottage also benefits from an active Fundraising and Junior Advisory Board, which held an iPad drive collecting 30 devices so that residents could stay connected to their loved ones. Last summer, they also had a mini-golf tournament on the grounds.

The vibrant social environment ensures that there is always something to do at Parsonage. Their monthly calendar of activities, including Arts and Crafts, games and brain challenges, Zooms with family and friends, ministry services on Sundays, themed events and game nights, a piano, free cable and Wi-Fi, music and dancing, and a large screen for movie nights with popcorn.

There are level walking paths, gardens, benches, front porch rocking chairs, and a large terrace outside the dining area for outdoor relaxation, entertainment, and enjoyment. Outdoor and indoor instructor-led fitness opportunities include Zumba, Tai Chi, Chair Yoga, Meditation, and more. There is also a well-maintained Putting Green steps away from the front door.

The first employee of Parsonage Cottage, Tamara Smith, remembers the call she received on a memorable Sunday evening offering her a position. Twenty-five years later, Smith says working with the seniors at Parsonage “is my gift from God. Helping the seniors and making sure their needs get met makes me very happy. And when you’re having fun and enjoying what you’re doing, the time flies.” Her colleagues and residents at Parsonage call Smith dedicated, vibrant, patient, kind, and real peach from Georgia.

Smith finds motivation in being able to help a resident adjust to their new way of living; “I like to enable them to realize that they can still maintain their independence as much as possible.” This empowerment is what makes Parsonage a unique and fulfilling way of aging in place in Greenwich. Smith is known as the Parsonage Cottage “Fix All,” stating that the best part of her job is communicating with the residents’ physicians, staff, and families.

Smith’s favorite memories include taking the residents to New York City on boat cruise, cookouts at the beach, and planning the annual family Christmas parties.

“I enjoy seeing the staff interact with the residents, like dancing with them at parties, sitting down, laughing, and socializing,” Smith said.

After 25 years, Parsonage has become something of a second home for Smith.

“It’s such a gratifying accomplishment I am so proud of – I ‘work” at a facility that I can also call home – that is a winner for me,” she said.

For information, tour and consultation, contact Penny Lore at 203-869-6226 or [email protected].