Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.


Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.



The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.



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homes and decorate their new living spaces just as they wish. The apartments at Tanbark have kitchenettes with refrigerators and microwave ovens and bathrooms with safety features.

“Our apartment size is pretty large compared to other facilities,” Schilling said. “I believe our apartments offer more space.”

Daily housekeeping is provided, as well as laundry free of charge, satellite TV, phone, Internet and Wi-Fi.

You’ve probably passed it countless times while on your daily commute and wondered just what it was – that elegant white pillared building on the corner of Man o’ War Boulevard and Tates Creek Road.

It’s Signature HealthCARE at Tanbark Rehab & Wellness Center, a high-end rehabilitation and personal care facility that has been a Lexington tradition since 1989.

“We offer short term skilled nursing and rehabilitation, along with personal care in a senior living apartment setting,” said Nikki Schilling, NHA, Administrator/Marketing CEO for Tanbark. “We really try to cater to the needs of the community and what each person wants.”

For people who need short-term rehab – perhaps following a hospital stay – Tanbark has a first-class rehabilitation unit with services that seek to empower patients to return to their everyday lives.

“We have 34 skilled nursing facility beds that focus on short-term rehab,” said Schilling. “It’s post-acute care for when you come here straight from the hospital.”

Tanbark’s ExceleratedCARE units offer post-acute and skilled-nursing care, keeping in mind the different needs of each distinct patient.


TransitionalCARE closely monitors patients who are at risk of being readmitted to the hospital, with the aim of preventing this type of setback. Other rehab offerings include physical, occupational and speech therapy; cardiac rehab; orthopedic and neurologic recovery programs; and a fall management program.

Some people use the rehab facility as a way to make the transition to moving into the personal care unit. “They like the fact they’ve got the ability to continue with our therapy team while living in an apartment, but still have nursing staff available to help meet their needs,” Schilling said. “We also have a lot of partnerships with home health providers who can assist with their therapy needs, should they choose.”

When patients decide to make Tanbark their home, they have several living options. Floor plans include a studio with 582 square feet; a studio with 462 square feet; and a studio with 512 square feet. Also available are one-bedroom apartment units with 583 square feet; one-bedroom units with 624 square feet; one-bedroom units with 582 square feet; and one-bedroom units with 632 square feet. Residents are encouraged to bring their familiar furniture with them from their


Tanya J. Tyler is the Editor of Living Well 60+ Magazine

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Tanbark prides itself on maintaining a nurturing, person-centered approach in the personal care unit. The staff is committed to delivering compassionate care while also encouraging both independence and a personal sense of well-being. Residents as well as their families receive support at each phase of their lives there. Social connections, clinical support and help with the needs of daily living are paramount, all with the goal of helping seniors lead happier, healthier lives.

“For our personal care unit, we staff it with licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants and Kentucky medication aides 24 hours a day,” Schilling said. “We provide medication management and assistance with activities of daily living, whether you need help getting dressed in the morning, taking a shower, taking a bath or getting to and from the dining room.

”Another feature at Tanbark are the respite apartments, completely furnished with a hospital bed, TV and a kitchenette. “We have those set up for people who don’t need it long term,” Schilling explained. “A lot of times people on the rehab side who can’t go home yet but don’t need to be in rehab anymore will transfer to the respite apartment because it’s already furnished. They continue to get therapy, whether it’s from our team or from home health, and just continue to get stronger.” Some people move to a respite apartment to give senior living a try if they’re not sure it is the right fit for them.  

Visitors contemplating a move into a facility such as Tanbark inevitably ask about dining opportunities. Tanbark’s dining choices include seasonal selective menus that change daily and elegant formal dining complete with wait staff. There is also an alternate menu always available with items such as a chef’s salad, fruit plate, cheeseburger, hot dog and soup. A resident dietitian is available for diet consultations. Some residents prefer to have room service and to choose from the set menu. The facility strives to accommodate all individual desires.

“We try to meet their needs,” Schilling said. “We have a medical director who is the attending physician for anyone that admits to the rehab unit, and is more than willing to be the physician for our personal care residents as well. He comes at least once a week and we have a nurse practitioner that is here at least four times a week. It’s great peace of mind for the families and the residents. They don’t have to go out to the doctor; they can see the doctor or nurse practitioner here.” We do offer transportation to assist with physician appointments for those who choose to keep their community physicians.

For many residents, the elegant, tastefully decorated building is a source of pride and comfort.

“Our building has a very warm and welcoming feel,” said Schilling. “It’s a homelike setting. Our courtyard is probably one of our most attractive amenities. There are some raised gardens out there, built by local Eagle Scouts.” Earlier this year, a pair of ducks flew into the courtyard and made their home there. The residents enjoyed watching their ducklings hatch and grow. The enclosed courtyard is also the site of occasional cookouts and cornhole tournaments. The club room has a pool table and the library has natural lighting that invites you to sit for a spell and lose yourself in a good book. But there are also many opportunities to interact with fellow residents.

“Our clientele is pretty social,” Schilling said. “We try to keep them busy. If there’s something they want to do we try to incorporate that into their monthly calendar.” Recognizing this, Tanbark encourages socializing with activities such as Wine Down Wednesdays, Lunch Bunch Thursdays (where the residents go to a local restaurant), a scrapbooking club, a card group plus plenty of outings to various places in Lexington, such as Keeneland or a Legends baseball game.

Signature HealthCARE at Tanbark’s mission is to be a family-based organization that revolutionizes the healthcare industry. It works hard to deliver personalized care with respect for individual choices. Tanbark lives out its mission through a culture of resident- centered healthcare services, personalized spirituality and real quality-of-life initiatives.


Signature HealthCARE at Tanbark Rehab & Wellness Center 1121 Tanbark Road, Lexington, KY 40515(859) 273-7377  www.SHCatTanbark.com