Belvedere of Westlake's unique living arrangement goes national

Pictured at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., are: Diane Matheson, Cindy Griffiths-Novak, Josh Faiola, Robyn Gayle, Steve Lahn of Ingelside at King Farm and Steve Gurney. Photo by Steve Novak

The Belvedere of Westlake garnered national media attention in 2009 by becoming the first assisted living facility in the U.S. to serve as the summer home for a minor league baseball player when it hosted Lake Erie Crushers pitcher Josh Faiola – and has hosted a player every summer since. The most recent chapter in the story of this unique arrangement finds the intergenerational living movement propelled to the national stage with a suburban Washington, D.C., retirement community now housing two Washington Spirit soccer players. 

Olympic Bronze Medalist Diane Matheson and teammate Robyn Gayle recently moved into an 1,800-square-foot suite at the Ingleside at King Farm retirement community after Steve Gurney, a seniors’ advocate, blogger and publisher of “Sourcebook: Guide to Retirement Living,” pitched the idea to Ingleside’s executive director by showing her ESPN's 2009 feature on Josh Faiola and The Belvedere of Westlake… and she was hooked.

Gurney then invited The Belvedere’s owner/operator Cindy Griffiths-Novak and Faiola to be keynote speakers at his organization’s annual “Big Event for Senior-Serving Professionals” on April 18. Their message of bridging the generations by finding common ground between seniors and young people through baseball resonated with the 300 health care professionals gathered at Nationals Park, home of MLB's Washington Nationals, for the networking and education luncheon. 

Matheson and Gayle also attended the "Big Event,” sharing how much their lives have already been enriched through their daily interactions with their new neighbors.

With three other Westlake-area senior care facilities already hosting players, and now Ingleside in Washington, D.C., Griffiths-Novak is extremely encouraged. As a pioneer of the intergenerational living movement, it is her passionate belief that a bond can be created between young and old through baseball, soccer or any sport.

And when the Lake Erie Crushers' minor league baseball season kicks off on May 17, their new field manager, Jeff Isom, will make his off-field home at The Belvedere of Westlake. Isom, who was hired in January as the second manager in Crushers history, is looking forward to his unique living experience.

“I’m an early riser, so I will enjoy interacting with my new neighbors over that first cup of coffee in the morning,” shared Isom. He was impressed with The Belvedere after his first visit shortly after being named manager. 

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Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 10:14 AM, 05.14.2013