HOLLAND — With more than 500 residents, 400 employees and a location that is steps away from the downtown shopping district, Freedom Village brings more to Holland than just another option for retirement living.
“The great thing our residents will tell you is that living here gives them a huge peace of mind,” said Cathy Blackburn, director of community services at FreedomVillage. “They know where they’re going to be; they have a plan.”
FreedomVillage offers several levels of care in the community, including independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s care, advanced assisted living and skilled nursing care. With options including a continuum of care that lasts until the end of one’s life, Blackburn said, residents can feel assured they will be taken care of.
The community is also convenient for those who are able to live independently. With meal options, laundry service, a game room, work room, crafts and other amenities, Blackburn said many of the residents’ needs are taken care of onsite.
“They can really fully retire,” Blackburn said. “There are no headaches of home ownership — all of those things are taken care of for them.”
Holland Mayor Al McGeehan said FreedomVillage has brought a lot to the community in the decade since it came to downtown Holland
FreedomVillage is huge to us,” he said. “This is a neighborhood which should almost have its own ZIP code and its own voting precinct, because it’s huge and it’s located right smack dab downtown.”
McGeehan said he sees three main kinds of people living at FreedomVillage: Holland residents who are ready to leave their home; those who are affiliated with HopeCollege; and those from out of the area who are attracted to the lifestyle the community has to offer. Though they come from different backgrounds, McGeehan said, they all have something in common.
“It brings in people who aren’t interested in sitting in a rocking chair all day long,” he said. “It brings in people who want to be out and about, who want to go downtown to shop, who want to go downtown for street performers, who want to go downtown for concerts.”
McGeehan said they also contribute to the city in another way.
“A lot of them are active volunteers in the city, for the city of Holland boards and commissions,” he said. “These are active people.”
Blackburn said the residents appreciate the community, as well.
“The hospitality of the downtown merchants with our residents is wonderful,” she said.
Merchants have from time to time delivered goods after a long day of shopping, as well as provided other services for the residents, Blackburn said.
“People that move here love Holland,” she said. “It’s really a wonderfully receptive relationship.”
With 712- to 1,840-square-foot apartments, there are many options for individuals or couples. When an individual decides to live at FreedomVillage, he or she is not purchasing real estate, but the long-term care that comes with the community, so residents are not tied to an apartment. If needs change, the individual or couple is able to move into a different type of unit.
With an age range from 57 to 106, Blackburn said there are many different people in the community.
“They come from 28 different states, Canada and Japan,” she said. “We are a draw for the entire nation.”