Colonial Heights & Gardens, an independent living and personal care community in Florence, knows the value of longevity. It has been a fixture of the community for more than 30 years and much of its staff has been with the community for more than a decade.


“We’ve been around here so long,” says Pam Huesman, sales and marketing director. “We’re sort of known, especially in Boone County, as the place people want to go when they’re ready to sell their home and start an easier way to live as a senior.”


While the community is known for many of its longtime amenities—its parklike setting, convenient location and family-friendly atmosphere—Huesman says its residents also appreciate the organization’s commitment to staying a quality community.


“Every year we pick something in the apartments to upgrade,” says Huesman. This year, that means replacing many of the doors in each unit—from the closets to the bathroom—with new white doors. Also, the community is giving its indoor common spaces a cosmetic renovation. This includes the lobby, dining room, community room, library and marketing office in the Heights (the independent living facility) and the activity space, library and memory unit in the Gardens (the personal care facility). Previous updates have included screening in all of the balconies in the Heights and expanding the communal back patio.


“We have a great reputation and it’s the reputation we value and we want to consistently live up to. We’re very proud of it and we’ve worked very hard to maintain and retain. It’s something that we want to keep up so that generation after generation, we can continue to be the place for people to move to,” says Huesman.


In addition to building updates, Colonial Heights & Gardens has also been updating its services. Personal care was originally housed in the Heights with independent living before it was given its own space in the Gardens 15 years ago. That change allowed the community to offer 179 independent apartments, 61 personal care units and nine memory units, thus increasing the capacity of Colonial Heights & Gardens. To allow more people to take advantage of Colonial Heights & Gardens’ amenities and expertise, the community started offering respite care.


“A lot of people have used it if they’re taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s at home or they’re taking care of someone with dementia and they want to go on vacation. They want to be able to leave them somewhere where they know they’re going to be safe and then be able to come back,” says Huesman.


Other amenities Colonial Heights & Gardens has added to its repertoire over the years include lecture series, planned outings to area attractions such as the Aronoff, ceramics, social clubs, a computer learning center, a theater group and more.


Huesman says that community is able to stay dedicated to its residents because it is part of the Retirement Housing Foundation, a nationwide nonprofit organization.


“We specialize in housing for seniors and affordable housing for seniors. It’s giving them the biggest bang for their buck. It’s a really wonderful organization and we’re very happy to be part of it,” she says.