In Community, Foundation

The Charles Van Namen Family Bridge: Bridging Our Community Even Closer

The idea of an internal passageway connecting Beacon Hill’s buildings was a wonderful community initiative spearheaded by our Foundation in March of 2016. Since that time, we have eagerly awaited the opening of the “Charles Van Namen Family Bridge.” Designed to link Beacon Hill’s independent living building to our health care facility, including assisted living, skilled nursing, rehab and memory care, this new addition will be much more than an interior travel route. It will link lives by bridging families and friends together and help our Beacon Hill campus run even more efficiently.

A dream that began with a campaign entitled “Linking Lives” has now become a reality in less than three years, thanks to our generous donors. We are pleased to celebrate the opening of our new bridge in conjunction with the New Year. Now let’s take a closer look at everything our new bridge offers.

Chase Those Winter Blues Away

Grand Rapids, Michigan, has four beautiful seasons—and one of them is winter. However, Michigan winters can be harsh for some people, especially older adults. But with our beautiful new indoor, climate-controlled bridge, there is no need for coats, hats, gloves and snow boots—and your destination is just a pleasant stroll away.

The Many Benefits of Walking

Did you know that a brisk walk greatly benefits older adults? A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a link between walking and longevity. Daily walking promises many health benefits for seniors. Here are just a few:

  1. Increased muscle strength
  2. Weight management
  3. Improved flexibility
  4. Increased coordination and balance
  5. Lowered risk of stroke
  6. Elevated mood/ reduction of anxiety and depression
  7. Improved social life
  8. Strengthened bones, helping to prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
  9. Increased energy levels

With that in mind, we expect to see residents and staff alike walking the bridge all year long. But don’t forget to stop once in a while and take in the scenery. Thanks to the Beacon Hill Foundation, our functional bridge is also artistically welcoming—with the hallways lined with a collection of beautiful artwork, largely by local artist Marianna Heule. It’s like a trip to the art museum.

Don’t Miss a Single Event

Beacon Hill encourages a lifestyle rich in relationships and experiences. And what really sets us apart as an active retirement community is our abundance of activities, most of which are located right on our campus. So now, with the addition of the Charles Van Namen Family Bridge, the events that may have once been a challenge to attend for some are now just a promenade away. Residents and their guests can easily navigate their way from any building on campus to their desired event.

Time Is on Everyone’s Side

Now, our residents and guests are able to navigate our campus in a timely manner and our new bridge will also be a time-saver for our own staff. Our personnel can attend to the needs of our residents more easily and efficiently and clergy will also have better access to visit those who are ill or grieving.

Bridging Friends and Families Together

One of the best reasons to applaud the opening of the Charles Van Namen Family Bridge is the impact it will have on connecting people—especially our independent living residents who have spouses residing in another building. Now, everyone can easily commute between residences without the stress of outside travel. Our bridge is certainly a world-changer for many!

A special thanks to the Van Namen family for their generous contribution to this project.

References in order of hyperlink appearance:

  1. https://www.michigan.org/city/grand-rapids#?c=42.9528:-85.6836:12&tid=644&page=0&pagesize=20&pagetitle=Grand%20Rapids
  2. https://beaconhillgr.org/current-events/
  3. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/644554

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