When families ask Fred Wiesehan why Mari de Villa is the best place for their loved one, he has a ready answer: “I tell them it’s as easy as one-two-three,” he explains. “No. 1 is the level of care and the respect that our guests receive. No. 2 is the fact that the ownership lives here—my wife Mary Kay and I have been here for 29 years, and Mari de Villa has been here for 52 years. We’re very hands-on and we know our guests and families. And third is the affordability—with all the amenities and services we provide, we work hard to keep our rates very competitive in the St. Louis market.”
One of the top priorities at Mari de Villa is creating a home-like atmosphere, Wiesehan says. “We want it to be their home. After all, it’s our home, too.” The independent living villas, known as the Villa Estates, offer a fully equipped kitchen, living room, dining room, sun room and often a lower level with private elevator. “When someone speaks for a villa, we remodel that unit to their specifications. We can open a certain wall, add bookcases or hardwood flooring, whatever they would like.”
The many amenities offered are another part of what makes the community special, Wiesehan notes. “Not only do we have many functions at the Villa Estates clubhouse—which is best thought of as a country club-type atmosphere, with a living room, lounge, indoor pools and beauty shop—we also have a custom bus that takes our guests to area attractions.” Recent trips have included the Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri History Museum, the Blue Owl restaurant in Kimmswick, and visits to see the holiday lights at Tilles Park and The Rockettes. “A number of our guests like to go to the Fox or the Symphony but they’re not too keen on driving at night, so our driver will take them in the bus or limousine,” he says. Drivers also are available for doctor’s appointments, trips to the airport and other needs. When guests stay in, they have access to activities such as water aerobics, wellness classes and seated tai chi.
And because so many guests see Mari de Villa as home, almost all independent living guests who come to need additional care choose the community’s assisted living and skilled nursing, as well, Wiesehan notes. “They have gotten to know us and the staff, and our staff has gotten to know them—what their lives are like, and what their likes and dislikes are. It’s the next logical step and one that many people take,” he adds, noting that the East and West buildings, which consist of both assisted living and skilled care, are both licensed as a skilled facility. That means all of the areas are staffed by nurses 24 hours a day, all of the guest rooms are equipped with call lights and all guests receive timely rounds. The inclusive rates mean there are no additional charges for meals, a daily snack cart, housekeeping, laundry, transportation with staff escorts, cable television, daily activities and social hours, incontinence products and 24-hour nursing care.
For families that are considering a move, seeing is believing, Wiesehan notes. “If families would just tour Mari de Villa and see what is offered, they will be very well pleased.”