Story by Jack Garner
The Oakhaven Community in Bremen is not your typical low-income senior housing residence.
Oakhaven takes the “community” in its name seriously, fostering a friendly environment where its residents may enjoy independent living while building relationships with fellow residents.
“They’re an amazing group of people to work for,” said Property Manager Heather Stansbury. “They’re our people.”
Oakhaven, which is owned by the nonprofit United Church Homes, has a reputation for its caring staff that allows the community to thrive. Whether it’s the property manager greeting you at the doors, the service coordinator helping residents obtain needed supportive services to assist them in saving money and/or remain independent, or even the beloved maintenance man and grill master Tony, the Bremen community knows Oakhaven is an amazing place to live.
This reputation has spurned a network of community partners willing to drop everything and help Oakhaven in times of need.
“When we did our outdoor space, Ozinga donated the concrete,” said Service Coordinator Jennifer Adams. “The Town of Bremen laid the concrete. The football team built our really nice gazebo.”
Inside the walls of Oakhaven, residents display the care for each other modeled by the outside community they call home. Birthday parties are celebrated monthly. Meals are frequently shared together. The friendly interaction with neighbors at the mailbox provides a spark of belonging.
Residents frequently tell Stansbury “I should have moved here five years ago!” and “I cannot be happier!”
And that is why Oakhaven’s first resident, who moved in when the building opened in 1997, is still living there independently at the youthful age of 97.
The United Way of Marshall County is a proud supporter of the Oakhaven mission. United Way provides grants to Oakhaven and partner organizations Cultivate Culinary and REAL Services to continue making Oakhaven a spectacular option for Marshall County seniors in need of affordable housing.
“We don’t get a budget for any activities,” said Adams, noting that just the housing is subsidized. “We are dependent on grants and donations for our programming for our residents.”
Contact Adams at (574) 546-2881 to get plugged in and volunteer. Learn more about Oakhaven at https://www.unitedchurchhomes.org/wp-content/themes/uch-theme/assets/pdf/information-downloads/oakhaven.pdf.