business profile: breaking bread – summit glen residents and staff are one big happy family

By Anthony Welch

Not only do Allen and Natalie Miller serve as managers for the Summit Glen Gracious Retirement Living, they are residents as well.

The live-in managers, along with the 140 residents and 30 staff members consider themselves one giant, happy family.

“It’s a family atmosphere. It’s a friendly, warm building—you can feel it when you walk in,” said Natalie. “We all eat together as a family. We break bread together.”

Summit Glen, located at 4825 Old Farm Dr. in Colorado Springs, is owned by Hawthorn Senior Living, which operates 80 senior communities throughout the country and a few in Canada. The Millers have worked at Summit Glen since June 2015 and were recognized as Hawthorn’s Managers of the Year in 2017.

Available 24/7

Living at the property enables the Millers to respond to residents in need of aid at any time of day.

“We’re first responders. There are pull cords in every apartment in the living rooms, bathrooms and kitchens,” Natalie said. “Even if someone has an emergency at 2 a.m., we’re there for them.”

Assistant managers Scott and Kelley Vaughn also live onsite.

“It’s peace of mind for family members, so they know Mom’s not alone anymore, and there are people there for her,” said Allen.

The independent living facility is all-inclusive. Weekly housekeeping and linen services are provided. All utilities, including basic cable television, are covered as well.

“The only thing not included is the phone bill,” Allen mentioned.

Meals are provided restaurant style in a country club-like setting. Executive Chef Ryan Boyd, a former chef at the Broadmoor, prepares three meals a day from scratch.

“The food is over the top,” Natalie said.

Meal time has changed slightly due to COVID-19. Usually four residents sit together at a table during meals. Now, only two per table are allowed for social distancing reasons, according to Allen.

Open to visitors

Summit Glen houses 120 apartments, along with a library, media room, chapel, beauty salon and an exercise room. A full-time activity coordinator keeps residents active with outings on Wednesdays and shopping on Fridays. The facility provides bus transportation.

COVID has put a damper on outings temporarily. Residents used to visit Red Rocks, museums and concerts. For now, picnics and occasional restaurant trips are par for the course.

Summit Glen is to a point during this pandemic, where residents can have visitors and see family members. All visitors to the facility are screened and must have their temperature checked.

Keeping the residents engaged is top priority for the Millers and their staff. Summit Glen offers a variety of activities that benefit mind and body, including stretch exercising every morning, yoga, memory enhancement classes, bingo three times a week, a cribbage club, book club and cooking club. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech services are also available.

Summit Glen is built into a hill, which makes ground-level access easy for all residents.

“Every floor, somewhere, winds up on the ground floor,” Allen said. “Even the third floor goes out to the ground level.”

Residents get their exercise from simply walking the outdoor path, which is three-quarters of a mile. If a resident walks every floor—door to door—they’ll get a mile in, according to Allen.

Summit Glen is also furry-friend friendly, and there is no deposit for a cat or dog.

Making a difference

The Millers enjoy on-site living with the residents at Summit Glen.

“We’re more involved with the community. The commute is great—right down the hall,” Allen said. “We’re making a difference in peoples’ lives and that feels good.”

For more on Summit Glen, visit www.seniorlivinginstyle.com/senior-living/co/colorado-springs/summit-glen or call 719-380-1409.

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