By Sue Botos
Although residents of the Welsh Home no longer have to be of Welsh ancestry, the heritage is evident to any visitor. Photos of Wales’ countryside adorn the walls, and keepsakes depicting British royalty are displayed in glass-fronted cabinets. An engraving in the native tongue graces the living room mantle.
This respect for the past, while looking to the future, was on festive display during the Welsh Home’s recent open house for the community. The event highlighted the home’s recent addition and renovation projects.
The beautifully decorated Christmas trees and lights added to the cozy atmosphere, which has prevailed since the Women’s Welsh Club of America moved its first home for Welsh people from Mayfield Road, in 1922, to a farm house on what is now Center Ridge Road in Rocky River. Included in the $32,000 purchase was 11 acres, which featured 19 fruit trees and a scenic lake, home to flocks of ducks.
The original home, which consisted of nine bedrooms plus a five-bedroom cottage (including an ahead-of-the-times separation of smokers), was razed in 1953, and the surrounding farmland has given way to subdivisions. But the duck pond remains a signature feature of the Welsh Home, with later additions providing views.
Several renovations have taken place over the years, including a 1993 addition of office space and a board room, and a new eight-bed wing to replace two four-bed wards. In 2010, a 45-bed addition almost doubled the capacity of the home, which was originally licensed for 34 beds.
“All of our rooms are private,” registered nurse Liz Moore told a visitor during a tour of the facility. She noted resident photos at the doorway of each room. “We don’t use wrist bands,” she explained, adding that matching photos were kept in resident records at the corresponding nurse’s station. She said that the Welsh Home provides skilled nursing as well as rehabilitation services. There is also a small assisted living wing with room for 12 people.
Aside from the new additions, Moore said that 22 rooms in the original section had been refurbished, including office area. “That used to be my office,” she said, pointing to an electrical closet.
She added that restrooms have been expanded to better accommodate wheelchairs, and 15 rooms now have private showers. Doorways were also widened, closet space expanded and each room has a flat-screen TV.
The newest wing boasts a dining and cafe area where residents can socialize while eating, and a new multipurpose room allows residents to “visit” their doctor or dentist. Rehabilitation director Alecia Reed proudly showed off the new rehab center, which also has a complete kitchen to help those recovering get back to cooking for themselves. “They make some great cookies here,” she stated.