Category Archives: Corporate Office

Paula Levine inspires generations of dancers


Editor’s note: In celebration of Older Americans Month, LifeSpire of Virginia is featuring one resident a week from its four continuing care retirement communities who most embodies the characteristics of a “trailblazer” in wellness, community and hospitality.

By Ann Lovell

DALEVILLE, Virginia—Imagine rural Roanoke, Virginia, in 1955. The cost of a gallon of gas was 23 cents. The minimum hourly wage was $1.00, and the average cost of a new home was just over $10,000. It was a prosperous and peaceful time for many Americans, blissfully unaware that the turbulent 60s were just a few years away. For Paula Levine, 1955 marks the year she arrived at Hollins College — now Hollins University, an all-women’s liberal arts school outside Roanoke — to teach modern dance.

“Paula Levine pioneered the modern dance program at Hollins,” says Jeffrey Bullock, director and associate professor of M.F.A. Dance. “She brought modern dance to the Roanoke Valley.”

AN INSPIRATION—Paula Levine, 88, pioneered modern dance at Hollins University outside Roanoke and continues to inspire younger generations of dancers.

Levine, now 88, is a resident of The Glebe, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community in Daleville, Virginia, near Hollins. As a result of her contributions to modern dance, Levine is one of LifeSpire’s featured trailblazers during this year’s Older Americans Month. The U.S. Administration for Community Living sets aside May each year to recognize the contributions of older Americans. The 2016 theme is “Blaze a Trail.”

“Ms. Levine’s legacy as a modern dancer and dance professor reminds us of the importance of the arts to health, wellness and longevity,” says Jonathan Cook, LifeSpire President and CEO. “Her continued commitment to dance and to a younger generation of dancers is an inspiration.”

Ben Burks, executive director of The Glebe, agrees, “Ms. Levine demonstrates the ‘life in abundance’ we strive to provide for each of our residents at The Glebe. She swims, she travels, and she is an active member of our community. Her energy inspires us all.”


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Paula Levine dances in New York. (Photo courtesy of Paula Levine).

Modern dance began in the early 1900s in part as a rebellion against ballet, which in comparison is rigid and codified, and in part as a reflection of changing social mores at the turn of the 20th century. Modern dance pioneers like Doris Humphrey and Martha Graham, whose work significantly influenced Levine, “made up the rules as they went,” Bullock says. The form, which includes dancing barefoot with a focus on natural movement, ushered in an era of individual expression through dance.

“Women found their voice in modern dance outside the confines of ballet,” Bullock says.

Although Levine majored in English Literature at Brooklyn College, she began dancing at age 13 under the tutelage of Katya Delakova.

“Katya Delakova sparked my love for modern dance,” Levine says.

Later, the young woman also studied under Sophie Maslow, another modern dance pioneer who helped set the course of Levine’s life work. After a brief stint at Julliard, Levine received a teaching fellowship at Bennington College in Vermont where she received a Master of Arts.

“I wanted to follow my passion and do something I loved,” Levine says. “It wasn’t always easy.”

The young woman’s father didn’t want her to be “a parasite,” Levine explains. He didn’t think she could earn a living in the arts.

“Later, though, when I became a professor at Hollins, he was proud of me,” Levine says with a smile.

In most colleges and universities at the time, dance came in through the “back door” of physical education, Levine says. At Hollins, dance was part of the theater program. This focus on modern dance as a performing art gave Levine opportunity to pursue new forms of artistic expression that took her around the world and allowed her to develop life-long friendships in the process.

“The late 60s were heavily influenced by Asian ideas,” Levine recalls. “In 1969, I took a sabbatical to study Asian dance forms.”

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Paula Levine (front, center) with her students at Hollins. (Photo courtesy of Paula Levine).

She traveled to Hawaii, Japan, and Bali before making her way to Bangkok, Thailand. A Thai student at Hollins whose father was a diplomat arranged for her to study with a dance instructor in Bangkok named Lawan. The two women became good friends and developed a professional dance collaboration that lasted many years.

“We combined modern dance and Thai dance,” Levine recalls. Together the two women produced Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” in Thai style.

As their friendship and collaboration grew, Lawan visited Levine many times and offered master classes and performances throughout Virginia. Levine has traveled to Thailand 21 times since that initial visit in 1969. Lawan’s son, Top, attended North Cross School in Roanoke and lived with Levine from 1990-95. Top and his children are like family to Levine, and though she thought she had made her last trip to visit them in 2013, she visited again in 2015. Though traveling around the world is sometimes difficult, she enjoys spending time with her friends and watching the children grow.


Dance Contest Flyer 03
The Paula Levine Choreographers Contest held each year at Hollins University honors Paula Levine’s legacy and is open to sophomore and juniors girls in high school or preparatory school. (Photo courtesy of Hollins University).

Levine no longer dances, but as professor emerita of Hollins, she continues to help young women express themselves through modern dance. Bullock established The Paula Levine Choreographers Contest at Hollins to honor Levine’s continuing legacy. The contest awards prizes for the most developed solo dance composition submitted by sophomore or junior girls in high school or preparatory school.

“My students who come back tell me that dance enriched their lives,” Levine says.

Although Levine no longer dances, she swims almost every day, enjoying the saltwater pool at The Glebe where she lives.

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Paula Levine enjoys swimming in The Glebe’s saltwater pool. At 88, she still swims almost every day.

“People comment on what a beautiful swimmer I am,” Levine says. “I think it is because I was a dancer. People seem to think I have a lot of grace in the water.”

“I find that amusing,” she adds, “because I’ve never had formal swimming lessons.”

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.


NBC 12 and The Coming “Age Wave”

On Monday, May 9, NBC 12 reporter Allison Norlian interviewed 100-year-old Lakewood resident Buddy Hamilton and LifeSpire Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Peter Robinson for a story on Richmond’s coming “age wave.” To prepare for the vast numbers of adults entering retirement, Lakewood is expanding its community to include 65 new independent living residences, redesigned commons and amenity spaces, and multiple new dining venues.

If you missed the video, watch it here. To learn more about Lakewood’s expansion and how you can  get in on the “ground level,” contact Donna Buhrman, or (804) 521-9100.

Ted and Baerbel Schaller model life and love worth living


Editor’s note: In celebration of OLDER AMERICANS MONTH and the theme “Blaze a Trail,” LifeSpire of Virginia is featuring one resident a week from its four continuing care retirement communities who most embodies the characteristics of a “trailblazer” in wellness, community and hospitality.

By Ann Lovell

LAUGHING TOGETHER—Ted and Bell Schaller laugh together as they share the story of how they met and fell in love in Germany in the 1970s.

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia—She calls him, “My Ted.” He says he always gets the last word: “Yes, dear.”

Ted and Baerbel Schaller obviously love each other. The couple, both 76, will celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary in June. The couple’s devotion to one another is well-known among residents and staff of The Chesapeake in Newport News, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community, where they’ve lived since 2010.

“They still hold hands walking from their cottage to the dining room. They are an inspiration,” says Patricia Morris, LifeSpire vice president and head of the VBH Foundation, LifeSpire’s benevolence arm.

The Schallers also model wellness, community and hospitality, which is why they are two of LifeSpire’s featured trailblazers during Older Americans Month in May, says Jonathan Cook, LifeSpire President and CEO. The U.S. Administration for Community Living sets aside May each year to recognize the contributions of older Americans. The 2016 theme is “Blaze a Trail.”

“The Schallers are true ambassadors for The Chesapeake,” Cook says. “They represent all that it means to be part of a LifeSpire community.”

ENJOYING LIFE—Ted and Bell Schaller relax in the pool at The Chesapeake, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community in Newport News. The couple regularly uses the community’s pool, hot tub and fitness center to meet a variety of fitness goals.

The Schallers look for every opportunity to be involved in The Chesapeake’s myriad activities. Ted bikes 20 miles three times a week, and Baerbel claims he is “addicted to exercise.” She serves on the activities committee and the chorus committee, and both serve on the worship and spiritual life committee and as music librarians. From “aqua ease” in the community’s indoor pool to exercise class to creative arts to chorus, the Schallers’ involvement and energy seem boundless.

“We moved in six years ago at age 70. It was the best time to do it because there is so much to do,” says Baerbel, who goes by her nickname, Bell, she says, because many people can’t pronounce her German name.


The couple first learned about the community when they attended an AARP refresher driving class hosted at The Chesapeake in 2009.

“We can’t afford this,” Ted and Bell said to each other at the time, admiring the many amenities of the community. Ted is a retired U.S. Army sergeant who worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Newport News. Bell is a homemaker who manages the couple’s finances.

“He makes the money, and I spend the money,” Bell quips.

ARTWORK—Bell Schaller displays Ukrainian eggs she made in a creative art class at The Chesapeake. She has decorated her home with ceramics and other artwork she created in classes there.

But working with Liz Gee, The Chesapeake’s marketing director, the couple realized affordable options were available to them. The couple also paid a refundable deposit to add their names to a waiting list. This program, now called The Chesapeake Club, allowed them to use the community’s amenities at no additional charge. They also put their house of 34 years on the market — in the middle of the U.S. housing crash.

“Our house was on the market a year,” Bell says. “We moved in anyway.”

“There’s no place like this place so this must be the place!” Ted exclaims.

He continues, “The Chesapeake had the right feel, but two things sold me on it. One … being able to use all the amenities before we moved in. Two: If we run out of funds through no fault of our own, they won’t put us out on the street.”

“This is why we make contributions to the benevolence fund,” Bell says. “We know the benevolence fund helps keep people in their homes.”

The couple also appreciates the faith-based nature of The Chesapeake. Neither Ted nor Bell was “raised in church,” Bell says. Ted’s father immigrated to the U.S. from Austria, and he describes himself as Catholic. Bell grew up in East Germany where worship was forbidden and describes herself as Lutheran. Both say religion plays a part in their lives now, and both serve as ushers in the nondenominational worship service that meets weekly at The Chesapeake.

“The Schallers are ‘utility players,’” says Nancy Hayes, chaplain at The Chesapeake. “I know I can count on them.”

But it isn’t so much “religion” or religious activities that inspire the Schallers as the way that faith-based attitudes play out in their everyday interactions with The Chesapeake’s staff and other residents. “Respect” is one word Ted uses, incidentally the same word he uses to describe the success of their marriage. “Honesty” and “trust” are others.

“People treat each other differently in a faith-based community,” Bell says. “They talk differently to one another. Nobody talks nasty here.”

“Everyone is honest,” Ted says. “It has a calming effect.”


AN EXPRESSION OF LOVE—This Scrabble curio is displayed in the Schaller’s cottage at The Chesapeake where they have lived since 2010. It is just one tangible example of the love the Schallers express for one another.

Respect, honesty and trust are not only hallmarks of the couple’s relationships with other people; those characteristics have been the foundation of the couple’s relationship with one another since their first meeting in a small West German village in 1974. Bell, whose family lived in East Germany, left the communist state in 1955 when she was 15 years old.

“When I finished my schooling in East Germany, I had the choice of becoming a blacksmith or a mason,” Bell says. “My parents said, ‘No.’” So, the young woman moved to West Germany to live with her aunt and uncle.

Ted, who was stationed with the U.S. Army in West Germany, first spotted Bell at a party in an adjoining village. She didn’t notice him. A few months later, a young American military couple who rented their home from Bell needed a driver to take them to the airport. Ted showed up with the car. Bell didn’t speak much English — as an East German, she had learned Russian in school. Ted, who understood some German, was studying the language. He asked Bell to help him with his German homework.

“We were married six months later,” Ted says, proudly. “It took me three tours to Germany to find her.”

To this day, the two still speak German in their home.


The couple’s only regret in a lifetime of happiness is that they have no children.

“I love children,” Bell says. “I always wanted children.”

In 1976, the couple filed paperwork to adopt but were advised that the military lifestyle was too unstable for a child. Still, they recognize that the life and love they share is unique and fulfilling.

“We never fight. We have no kids, so there’s no reason,” Ted quips.

“And, we have nieces and nephews, and we have the big family of The Chesapeake,” Bell says.

In particular, her nephew, Sven, who lives in southern Germany, calls, texts and visits them often. They proudly show photos of Sven and the numerous trips they’ve made together.

“One time Sven told my Ted, ‘Uncle Ted, I never drink or smoke because you don’t do it,’” Bell says proudly.

Modeling good behavior for the next generation is important to the Schallers, not just for Sven’s benefit but for others as well.

Bell sums it up best.

“We want to live a life in front of people that they can look up to,” she says.

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

‘Pay attention,’ 100-year-old Buddy Hamilton advises


By Ann Lovell

Want to know the secrets to a long life? Buddy Hamilton has some advice.

Hamilton, who celebrated his 100th birthday May 3, is a resident of LifeSpire of Virginia’s Lakewood community in Richmond. Still very active in his church and community, Hamilton says the secret to his long life is finding balance among nutrition, lifestyle and spiritual vitality.

“A person can commit suicide by their diet,” Hamilton says. “I read a lot about nutrition. I eat a lot of plant food. I don’t eat much white bread or white carbs. I limit sweets, and I have a glass of wine several times a week.”

He has also learned to separate his day into “compartments of time” that allow him the right amounts of sleep, exercise and prayer. Finding the proper balance between the right kinds of foods and the right amounts of sleep allow him the greatest possible benefit. Hamilton says a regular, daily prayer time is also very important to him.

“I have a system of prayer that allows me to pray for many different groups of people and offer petitions on their behalf,” Hamilton says. “I spend about an hour every night in prayer, and I pray for different people on different days of the week. On Mondays, I pray for close friends, and I try to remember as many names as I can. On Wednesdays, I pray for all of the groups at First Baptist Church, Richmond, not always by name but by groups. On Fridays, I pray for each member of my family by name. On Saturdays, I pray for myself, being careful to give my thoughts and words to God.”

Hamilton’s “compartments of time” in his day also extend to seasons of life. Quoting Joel 2:28 from the Old Testament, Hamilton recites, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

“As a young man, I was devoted to vision and planning,” Hamilton explains. “Now, I enjoy dreaming about my wife of 64 years (Edith, who died in 2004), and about those who went before.

It’s good for young people to spend time visualizing and planning the future,” Hamilton says. “They will have plenty of time to dream about the past later.”

But his most important piece of advice ties it all together.

“Listen to what God knows to be best,” Hamilton says, noting following “God’s best” brings the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of life into harmony.

“At least, that’s what I’ve found to be the case for me,” Hamilton says. “But it’s an individual endeavor. Every person must decide for himself.”

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communication for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

At age 100, Lakewood resident Buddy Hamilton works among Richmond’s homeless

May 1, 2016

Editor’s note: In celebration of Older Americans Month and the theme “Blaze a Trail,” LifeSpire of Virginia is featuring one resident a week from its four continuing care retirement communities who most embodies the characteristics of a “trailblazer” in wellness, community and hospitality.

By Ann Lovell

GOOD FRIEND—Buddy Hamilton, right, poses with Robert Taylor, 60, at First Baptist Church, Richmond. Taylor is a guest of the church’s homeless ministry where Hamilton regularly volunteers.

RICHMOND, Virginia—Many of the homeless in Richmond’s fan district know Buddy Hamilton by name.

“Buddy is a great guy,” says Robert Taylor, 60, a weekly guest of the homeless ministry of First Baptist Church, Richmond. “The way he greets people, his personality, I just love Buddy.”

“Robert and I have known each other a long time,” Hamilton agrees, smiling. The spry centenarian reaches around the taller, younger man to give him a pat on the back.

As a volunteer calls Robert to take his turn in the clothes closet, one of two uniformed police officers patiently answers a young woman’s questions. Other guests enjoy coffee and a pastry, waiting their turn for a shower or a snack bag. A few moments before, senior pastor Jim Somerville offered a short sermon. A few heads nodded as the pastor spoke, and some murmured an “Amen” or two. The atmosphere feels like family. Hamilton smiles as he surveys it all.

“This is a sanctuary for them,” Hamilton says. “There is no anxiety or fear here. They get to know the police, and the police get to know them. Because of that, they know they are safe.”

ACTIVE VOLUNTEER—Buddy Hamilton signs in a guest of FBC Richmond’s homeless ministry for a shower. The ministry offers Richmond’s homeless showers, food and clothing four times a week at the downtown church.

Hamilton, who will celebrate his 100th birthday May 3, volunteers every week in the homeless ministry of the downtown Richmond church, where he has been a member 82 years. He drives himself and two friends, Al Astle, who will be 100 in August, and Jack Mitchell, 90. Astle and Mitchell also volunteer in the ministry.

“Buddy really takes ownership of the shower ministry,” says Vicky Nicholau, who coordinates the ministry as a volunteer. “He’s here every Wednesday. The guests love him.”

A resident of LifeSpire of Virginia’s Lakewood retirement community since 1999, Hamilton is one of LifeSpire’s featured trailblazers during Older Americans Month in May. The U.S. Administration for Community Living sets aside May each year to recognize the contributions of older Americans. The 2016 theme is “Blaze a Trail.”

“A LifeSpire trailblazer is a resident of one of our communities who models wellness, community and hospitality,” says Jonathan Cook, LifeSpire President and CEO. “We honor and respect Mr. Hamilton for his continuing contributions to our community.”

Hamilton seems to pay little attention to such accolades, but he has a glimmer in his eye when he offers his secret to a long life.

“Pay attention,” Hamilton says. “Listen to what God knows to be best.”


REMEMBERING—Buddy Hamilton poses in his apartment with a framed photo of himself, drawn by an artist in a café in Paris, France. To his left is a collage of photos compiled by his granddaughter in anticipation of his upcoming 100th birthday. “These days, I enjoy dreaming about the past,” Hamilton says.

Born in 1916 in a house built by his grandfather on Richmond’s Libbie Hill, Hamilton learned to fly when he was 18 years old on a gravel field at Richard E. Byrd flying field (now Richmond International Airport). Later, he was a captain for TWA’s international division in the north and south Atlantic. During World War II, most planes of value to the government were in the hands of commercial airlines, Hamilton explains. As a result, the government conscripted TWA and all other airlines to fly military missions, and TWA’s crews were some of the first to make long-range flights over water during daylight hours.

After the war Hamilton returned to Richmond and rejoined his family’s paper converting business. Eventually, he and his brother, Dick, bought the business from their father and ran it together for nearly 40 years. Hamilton retired in 1998 at age 82.

Throughout his life, Hamilton has also been active in FBC Richmond, where he has taught Sunday School and served as a deacon. He is the last elected “deacon for life,” and the Sunday School class he attends but no longer teaches — called “The Buddy Hamilton class” — is one of the church’s largest.

“It’s the only Sunday School class we have named for a person,” Somerville says.

But balancing his spiritual life and his professional life was often challenging, Hamilton acknowledges.

“For most of my life, I put a lot of effort into my business,” Hamilton says. “I had one foot in the secular world and one foot in the spiritual world.”

Then, when he was about 55 years old, the then-Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention sponsored a lay renewal weekend at FBC Richmond. During that weekend, Hamilton heard the testimony of a man “who had chosen intentionally to focus on the things of God.”

“I decided I would do the same thing,” Hamilton recalls. “It seems like a small step, but it was life-changing for me.”


Learning to pay attention to the things of God helped him prioritize and look beyond himself, Hamilton says.

“The real sin of the world is inordinate self-interest,” Hamilton explains. “Every sin can be traced to selfishness that starts at birth. I think this selfishness is wired into us from birth to allow us to survive.

As our parents respond to our cries, we begin to think we are the king,” Hamilton continues. “To overcome this innate selfishness I must be willing to give my thoughts and words to the Lord before they become audible and trigger action.”

Hamilton’s character and spiritual insight are highly respected among those who know him, says Somerville.

TRUSTED ADVISER—Buddy Hamilton talks with another volunteer during a break in ministry at FBC Richmond. “Buddy not only cares about people; he has great spiritual depth,” said Steve Blanchard, FBC Richmond’s Associate Pastor for Compassion.

“Buddy offers the perspective of years of experience, but he is remarkably open-minded,” Somerville says. “When Buddy speaks, heads swivel to hear what he has to say. People trust him. There is universal recognition that he helped make us who we are.”

In addition to his work in the homeless ministry, Hamilton delivers “Meals on Wheels” monthly to Richmond’s Jackson Ward.

“Some people claim that’s a bad part of town, but I don’t think so,” Hamilton says with a smile. “I have some great friends there.”

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

Lakewood now provides short-term rehabilitative care

By Ann Lovell

lakewoodRICHMOND, Virginia—Lakewood, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community, is now accepting direct admissions from outside referral sources into its skilled nursing facility. Based on recent approval from the Virginia State Health Commissioner, Lakewood will offer short-term rehabilitative care and other nursing services.

“This allows us to expand our 37-year tradition of providing exceptional health care in a faith-based, family environment to the greater Richmond community,” said Jeff McInnis, executive director of Lakewood.

Lakewood has earned a 5-star rating through Nursing Home Compare. Calculated by, Nursing Home Compare contains quality of care and staffing information for the more than 15,000 Medicare- and Medicaid-participating nursing homes across the U.S. The system rates each nursing home on health inspections, staffing and quality measures, then combines those three ratings to calculate an overall rating, with one being lowest and five highest.

Lakewood offers a number of services and amenities that make it appealing to people recovering from accidents or illness, McInnis said. Nestled on 128 acres in Richmond’s West End, the quiet community boasts a low CNA and nurse turnover rate, promoting continuity of care and demonstrating the staff’s commitment to rehabilitative success.

“Direct admit clients will work with experienced therapists who will help them reach their rehabilitation goals quickly,” McInnis said. “Our fully-equipped therapy gym with ADL kitchen helps clients best simulate the tasks they will need to do when they return home.”

Like Lakewood residents, direct admit clients also enjoy meals prepared by a trained chef and offered in restaurant-style dining rooms. They may order directly from the menu and have access to the services of a registered dietitian. At the end of a stay in Lakewood’s skilled nursing facility, direct admit clients may transition to assisted living or independent living levels of care if they are functionally and financially approved.

For more information, contact Felicity Wood, Administrator of Health Services, (804) 521-9151,


Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.


Addressing long-term care issues: the benefits of Life Care

By Ann Lovell

Grandpa Gets a Kiss

RICHMOND, Virginia—Long-term care: It’s a topic most Americans know they should talk about but might rather not. Questions such as: “Who will take care of me?” “What level of health care can I afford?” and “Who will take care of my spouse?” are issues that should be addressed well before significant health concerns arise.

These discussions become even more essential as the U.S. population ages. According to a 2014 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one in five U.S. residents is expected to be 65 or older by 2030. The Wall Street Journal reported in a May 1, 2015, article that more than two-thirds of individuals age 65 and older will require some type of long-term care. Yet, while a 2013 national survey found that 90 percent of Americans believed it was important to have end-of-life care discussions with their families, less than 30 percent had actually done so.

It’s time to have the discussion — and a good place to start is by understanding Life Care.

In its simplest terms, Life Care means residency in an apartment or cottage along with comprehensive health care services and amenities. Most Life Care communities — and all LifeSpire of Virginia communities —provide independent living, assisted living and full-time nursing care in one location. As a result, residents have the security of knowing that short- and/or long-term health care needs will be met on-site with no substantial increases in cost. Often referred to as an “all-inclusive plan,” Life Care acts as a safety net against the future high costs of long-term care.

Phases of Life Care

  • Independent Living: Life Care begins with independent living, emphasizing wellness and encouraging residents to maintain good health for an active and independent lifestyle. In LifeSpire communities, this means a spacious cottage or apartment with a wide array of on-site amenities including a health clinic, physical therapy, fitness center, regular health checks and other activities and programs. However, Life Care goes beyond independent living. In LifeSpire communities, residents also have access to assisted living and nursing care around the clock. As a result, residents are never far from their spouse or friends while they receive the additional services they need.
  • Assisted Living: Assisted living is an “in-between” residential service for those who are independent but need some assistance with the activities of daily living. In LifeSpire communities, residents receive personal care support and services such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing and transportation.
  • Nursing Care: In many cases, nursing care is required only briefly, such as after a hospital stay. In those cases, the emphasis is on helping residents rehabilitate and recuperate as quickly as possible so they can return to their apartment or cottage. In other cases, a condition might be chronic or progressive, requiring a longer stay in the Health Services Center.

The benefits of Life Care

  • Steady long-term care costs: No matter how long a stay is required in assisted living or nursing care, Life Care provides residents the services they need on-site for as long as necessary. Beyond the regular monthly fees paid for an apartment or cottage residence, the only additional costs for assisted living and/or nursing care cover two additional daily meals and ancillary charges, such as medical supplies and pharmacy. This arrangement helps protect a resident’s estate by keeping health care costs steady even as health needs increase.
  • Tax benefits: The Internal Revenue Service considers a portion of the entrance fee paid the year a resident moves in and monthly fees paid each year of residency as “pre-paid medical expenses.” As such, a resident may add part of those fees as itemized health care costs for possible income tax deductions. The portion of the fees used in this manner varies by community and from year to year. Contact a tax adviser for more information.
  • Affordability: The Wall Street Journal reported in 2015 that the median annual cost for a private nursing home is $91,250, and 24-hour care can reach $170,000, according to a study from Genworth Financial. Life Care in a LifeSpire community is much more affordable. For example, the industry average in Virginia for one year of nursing home care for a single person is a little more than $100,000. Factoring in the additional cost of home maintenance, home health care may reach as much as $200,000. However, with a Life Care contract in a LifeSpire community, a resident’s monthly fee of approximately $50,000 does not increase as additional nursing care is required.
  • Quality of Life: According to a 1997 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, people who live in continuing care retirement communities generally live longer than those who stay in their homes. CCRCs also reduce the risk of disease and disability and improve the health of their residents. By combining a variety of services that affect overall wellness of residents, including activities and sports facilities, LifeSpire CCRCs encourage seniors to take responsibility for maintaining their personal health.

Life Care allows seniors in LifeSpire communities to take control of their future and proactively choose where and with whom they will live while receiving the care they may need. This provides peace of mind and the opportunity to spare loved ones from the stress of making a difficult decision in a time of crisis.

By selecting a Life Care community with a reputation for exceptional care — like one of the four LifeSpire communities — residents can be certain that if care is needed the best will be available.

Call or email us to schedule a tour of one of our four LifeSpire communities:

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, an equal housing opportunity provider. Contact her at or at (804)521-9192.




RICHMOND, Virginia—Virginia Baptist Homes is now LifeSpire of Virginia.

Established in 1945, Virginia Baptist Homes currently operates four distinct retirement communities across the state of Virginia. “We recently took stock of the fact that while our organization had continued to grow and evolve throughout the 70-plus years of our tenure, our name had remained virtually unchanged,” said President and CEO Jonathan Cook. “We decided that was worth investigating.”

Following months of research that included in-depth market analysis, surveys and focus groups with both current and future residents, and detailed input from board and executive team members, the company chose the name LifeSpire of Virginia. “We chose LifeSpire because it both honors our past and, at the same time, more accurately reflects who we are today and where we are headed in the future,” Cook said, stressing that the name change does not involve a change in ownership, staffing or corporate structure. Only the name has changed.

Virginia Baptist Homes has a long-standing commitment to innovation and excellence. LifeSpire will continue to build on this commitment, bringing new and expanded wellness programs, enhanced dining components, increased opportunities for holistic wellness, and continued advocacy in the broader social and political community on behalf of all seniors.

What began as a community for Virginia Baptists has grown to become a vibrant mix of people of all faiths, beliefs, traditions and ethnicities. “LifeSpire is both a promise to remain rooted in our Christian principles and values, and a challenge to continue to reach ever higher in order to better meet the needs and expectations of future generations,” Cook said.

Peter Robinson
Vice President for Marketing and Public Relations
LifeSpire of Virginia

Corporate Headquarters:
1900 Lauderdale Drive, Richmond, VA 23238
Telephone: (804) 521-9276

Follow us:
Twitter @lifespireliving


Lifespire AnnRICHMOND, Va.—Virginia Baptist Homes (VBH) is pleased to welcome Ann Lovell as Corporate Director of Communications. Ann is succeeding Monica Hillery who retired Feb. 5 after 43 years of service. Ann comes to VBH from the Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB) where she served 13 years as a missionary in media roles in the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand and four years on staff as a writer and editor in IMB’s communication center in Richmond.  As a missionary, Ann led Bible studies with local and international women in the Philippines and South Korea. In Thailand, she founded a ministry to exploited women and children, which focuses on sharing the gospel in the red-light districts of northern Thailand.

Ann’s prior experience also includes 11 years of Federal government service with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in Knoxville, Tennessee. While at DOE, Ann wrote speeches, developed presentations and crafted legislative language for senior officials to present to local stakeholders, state and Congressional representatives and the White House.

Ann and her husband, Joe, have two daughters. Lauren is a senior at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Alli is a freshman in Tucker High School’s Advanced College Academy in Richmond.

Ann may be contacted by email at or by phone at (804) 521-9192.

Please welcome Ann to the VBH family!

Peter Robinson
Vice President for Marketing and Public Relations
Virginia Baptist Homes
Corporate Headquarters:
1900 Lauderdale Drive, Richmond, VA 23238
Telephone: (804) 521-9276

New Staff Members Joined the LifeSpire Corporate Staff in 2015


Mick L. Feauto Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Mick L. Feauto
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

VBH welcomed a new staff member to the corporate staff this year – Mick L. Feauto. Mick brings to VBH a strong professional background and experience in working with senior living services.

Mick Feauto joined the staff as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Feauto has 34 years of senior industry experience as a nursing home administrator, Executive Director, Regional VP of Operations and Senior Regional VP of Operations. During the last ten years, he has served in regional roles with Life Care Services with oversight of 28 CCRCs. In addition, to the strong operational background, Mr. Feauto also has a broad range of experience with CCRC insurance captives, tax-exempt financing, direct placement loans, greenfield and campus redevelopments, marketing systems and fundraising. He is a graduate of Simpson College in Indianola, IA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting.