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The idea of "wellness" includes more than just having a healthy body—it's about well-being in mind, body, and soul. At The Chateau Girardeau, our highest priority is helping each resident live their very best life. Our strategy is to encourage wellness by focusing on six different pillars—physical, mental, spiritual, environmental, social, and emotional.

PHYSICAL WELLNESS

Maintaining physical health is the first step in achieving a state of overall wellness, and perhaps the best place to start is with exercise. The Chateau has a fitness center for residents, which provides cardio, strength training, and yoga classes to help residents stay active. Residents can also take walks on our Wildflower Trail for a more relaxed dose of physical activity.

Another big component of physical wellness is healthy eating. Our Dining Services staff provides meals that are healthy and delicious. The superb Chef Walter and Laura, our Registered Dietitian, work together to create menus with a variety of delicious options so our residents can have their pick at meal times. Plus we also have special events throughout the year for our residents to enjoy! 

Dishes from a recent Farm-to-Table special dinner event 

Even with proper diet and exercise, physical injuries and illnesses can still happen. If our residents need help recovering from an injury or illness, we have a state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility right on our campus. Our Rehab staff is highly qualified to help residents and local seniors get back on the mend. 

MENTAL WELLNESS

It's equally important for seniors to keep their brains active. Learning new things, engaging in activities that require thinking, and socializing with others (more on this later in the blog!) are great ways to exercise the brain. 

The Chateau offers a variety of education courses such as cooking classes, art classes, iPad use, and other technology classes. These classes encourage our residents to take on new challenges and learn new things. We also offer residents the opportunity to attend lectures on-site, and we have a library so they can continue their education however they choose.

SPIRITUAL WELLNESS

After a lifetime of hard work and dedication to a career or raising a family, retirement provides the opportunity for seniors to redefine how they spend their day. By exploring new hobbies or other activities there wasn't time for before, Chateau residents can truly embrace everything retirement has to offer.

The Chateau offers many ways for residents to focus on their spiritual health. By offering a private chapel, church services, Bible studies, art classes for self-expression, and plenty of quiet outdoor space, our residents have plenty of opportunities to reflect and focus on their spiritual health.

ENVIRONMENTAL WELLNESS

Retirement living shouldn't have to mean giving up personal style or expression. Residents at the Chateau are encouraged to customize their space to make it their own by decorating with their own furniture, artwork, and more. 

In addition, all residences at The Chateau feature maintenance-free living, which means no cleaning, no dishes, no yard work, and cooking only when you want to. 

The Chateau also decorates all common areas for holidays so everyone can enjoy the cheer of Christmas, New Year’s, and other special occasions throughout the year. 

Not sure if you're ready to make the move? Once you start spending time doing things you want to do instead of things you have to do, you'll wonder why you didn't come to The Chateau sooner! 

SOCIAL WELLNESS

At The Chateau, our residents have many opportunities to build new friendships (and of course keep the old). We want our residents to feel part of a community, so we do our best to provide plenty of ways they can stay social. We have a very popular weekly social hour every Friday, and residents are also encouraged to try the fitness and education classes we’ve previously mentioned, join or start a club based off of their interests, or attend themed events, socials, movie nights, and more put on by Chateau staff.

EMOTIONAL WELLNESS

All of the pillars of wellness work together to create a happier and healthier life for our residents. Everything we do at The Chateau, from continued learning opportunities to specially crafted meals, is aimed at helping our residents be as emotionally healthy as possible.

40 YEARS OF WELLNESS

For 40 years, we have encouraged our residents to live their best lives and have provided amenities that help them do so. We are proud to be the premier continuing care retirement community in the region, and will continue to strive to hit even greater heights over the next 40 years.

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We are celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Chateau Girardeau this summer, and what better way to celebrate a milestone like this than to take a moment to remember how it all started. When you look out across our beautiful 40-acre property, it’s hard to imagine that it used to be just an empty lot. Our story starts with a simple idea—that the people of the Cape Girardeau region deserve a retirement community that provides a worry-free, respectful, and active environment so they can fully enjoy all that their best years have to offer.

An Idea Takes Shape

In the early 1970s, members of the First Presbyterian Church in Cape Girardeau noticed that many families were leaving the region when they reached retirement age due to a lack of high-quality local options. The church decided to conduct a feasibility study to see if opening a retirement community was possible. Reverend Joseph Ledford, the president of the Westminster Gerontology Foundation and a Presbyterian minister in Kansas City, served as a consultant during the process. Rev. Ledford helped open several similar retirement communities throughout Missouri, each with a focus on better serving retired individuals. 

The First Presbyterian group mailed out questionnaires to people  aged 62 or older in nearby counties to gauge interest in Cape opening a retirement community of its own. The results showed that there was not only great interest but also a great need for better retirement options. Since it seemed like the region was primed and ready, the First Presbyterian Church passed the baton to a new organization to help carry the idea of Chateau Girardeau over the finish line. The Cape Retirement Community Inc. was formed as a non-profit, non-denominational organization with the goal of providing a high-quality retirement community for the Southeast Missouri region.

During the 1970s, most people thought of retirement communities only as nursing homes, and many felt like nursing homes provided little in the way of amenities, enjoyment, or freedoms. The Cape organization wanted to provide a better alternative for the area, one with a philosophy built on getting the most enjoyment possible out of the retirement that residents earned with a lifetime of hard work.

Breaking Ground and Moving In

In October 1975, the organization purchased the ground at the intersection of Mount Auburn and Independence in Cape Girardeau, where Chateau Girardeau would soon come to stand. By November of that year, a model apartment was already available for potential residents to tour, and an official marketing campaign began.

In October 1977, construction on The Chateau Girardeau officially commenced after a festive ground-breaking ceremony. Phase one of construction included independent living apartments as well as a health center, which would provide medical access and peace of mind for residents. During construction, many retirees began to sign up to live in the brand new facility once it was ready. And just under two years later, on July 2, 1979, the first residents excitedly moved into their beautiful new apartments.

Long-Term Planning

With a full-house and waiting lists forming by the early 80s, administrators of The Chateau realized it was time to start thinking about expansion. In 1983, official long-range planning began, which included additions to the health center and independent living apartments, plus two new initiatives—an assisted living wing, which would provide extra care for those who needed it without sacrificing overall independence, and a cottage program for independent living residents who wanted a little more space than an apartment.

In May 1988, the new Assisted Living Center (now known as The Chateau Terraces) officially opened, and the very first cottage home (called The Estates) opened in September of 1993. Both new initiatives were successful, and more residents moved in—by 1992, The Chateau was home to over 175 residents from 64 different locations across the country.

CCRC Accreditation

Administrator of The Chateau, Barbara Calvin, oversaw The Chateau’s process of receiving national accreditation as a Continuing Care Retirement Community. In December 1991, The Chateau applied for accreditation from the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. The Chateau administration, staff, and residents teamed up to do whatever they could to make sure The Chateau qualified for the honor, and in October 1992, the accreditation was official. The Chateau became one of only 121 retirement communities to receive the honor nationwide, and one of only two at that time in Missouri. (Today The Chateau is the only CARF-accredited CCRC in the state.)

The Chateau’s commitment of always striving for the best for our residents was clear during the accreditation process—Barbara Calvin told the Southeast Missourian that the efforts were all for “the continuing dedication to make Chateau Girardeau the best community possible for its residents.”

Celebrating 40 Years with the Cape Girardeau Community

Today, the original dreams of The Chateau’s long-term planning efforts have come to fruition. New construction in recent years include our state-of-the-art Rehabilitation Center, which serves our residents as well as seniors in the region on an outpatient basis. Many other upgrades and expansions are visible as you walk our grounds, from our beautiful courtyard fountain to our recently renovated dining rooms to our brand new televisions throughout the property, providing schedules of meals, activities, and more.

As we celebrate 40 years of service to the Cape Girardeau region, we look back at our past with fondness, but we also look to the future and the amazing things still to come for The Chateau in the next 40 years!

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The Chateau is celebrating 40 wonderful years of serving the Cape Girardeau community. Our longevity wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing and dedicated staff, many of whom can count their service to The Chateau in decades! One of our longest-serving staff members is our head groundskeeper, Raymond.

Raymond has kept The Chateau looking beautiful since he first joined our team on November 19, 1985. Originally, Raymond began in maintenance, where he helped take care of residents’ apartments as well as the main building. Back in the mid-80s, The Chateau was a much smaller place. It was just one building when Raymond started—the Gardens opened in 1988 and the first Estates home opened in 1993. Raymond recalls mowing the grounds where the Estates homes would eventually be built, “It used to take me a whole week to mow it.”

Pretty quickly after meeting him, you'll realize that Raymond has a fantastic memory—he can tell you the month and year of special events or when new features came to be across The Chateau’s 40 acres. As we passed the Wildflower Trail, he shared that a resident, Marge Bauerle, donated the funds to build the popular pathway, as well as plant gorgeous Missouri flowers around it. Raymond and the grounds crew keep the Wildflower trail looking great so that residents can spend peaceful time in nature whenever they wish.

One especially memorable event happened in September of 2017, when the whole property received the “Yard of the Month” honor from the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce. Raymond remembers going downtown to City Hall to receive the honor with the rest of the grounds crew, which just happened to be on his 62nd birthday!

Throughout the years, it’s the residents who really keep Raymond motivated and loving his work. He likes keeping the grounds looking sharp so residents can feel at home, plus enjoy comfort and nice views while spending time outside. He said he's always liked stopping by Monday morning coffee and hearing some amazing stories from people who have lived all over the world. “You get to meet a lot of really interesting people,” he said, from university professors to doctors to world travelers. "I have heard a lot of stories." 

When we stopped by the courtyard next to the main lobby, Raymond shared some fond memories of Mary Snow, who donated the funds to build the courtyard and its beautiful stone fountain, which Raymond helped bring to life. Before she settled in Cape Girardeau, Mary’s husband worked as a lawyer for the St. Louis Browns, back when the city was home to two Major League Baseball teams. After the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles, the couple adopted the Cardinals as their favorite team—and Mary was one of their ultimate super fans. The Cardinals always remembered the Snow family's contributions to St. Louis baseball, so they’d often provide Mary with tickets, and Mary frequently shared those tickets with her Chateau family. “She was a really special lady,” Raymond said with a smile.

Another resident, Florence Rossiter, commissioned the sculpture of the Great Horned Owl that greets visitors and residents alike in The Chateau’s main parking lot. If you haven’t seen the sculpture, take a look next time you’re in the lot!

We’re so grateful to Raymond and all of our staff for always going above and beyond for our residents. Next time you see Raymond making his rounds around The Chateau, be sure to say hi, and if you enjoy all of the beautiful green views around the property, give him a thank you! 

Stay tuned for more fun memories of the last 40 years and celebrations of all the great things yet to come at The Chateau!

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