Camellia Gardens of Life Care in Thomasville, Georgia, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a week of events for residents, associates, family members and the community.
The activities took place the week of Nov. 6, 2017. On one day, associates gave out homemade cakes to the local first responders, doctors’ offices and hospital staff to thank them for their service in the community, and residents made gift bags for the local women’s shelter.
Another day was Hippie Day. Residents and associates dressed as hippies and held a pretend protest out in front of the building with signs reminiscent of the 1960s peace movement. Residents got drivers to honk their horns, and the police came by and turned on their lights and sirens for them. Then the residents went inside for a birthday party for the facility.
On another day, associates enjoyed an inflatable slide, with nursing staff and therapy staff competing to see who could climb to the top and slide down the fastest. Residents and associates’ family members then enjoyed playing on the inflatables that evening, with residents watching and laughing at the antics.
The community got involved at the open house on Nov. 9 and enjoyed tours of the building, refreshments and live piano music with selections from the ’60s and ’70s. Guests also enjoyed looking at the scrapbooks associates put together of the last 50 years.
“It was a nice meet and greet sort of fellowship,” said Vicki Cooper, executive director.
Camellia Gardens opened its doors in 1967. Life Care Centers of America acquired the building in 1979, which resulted in the addition of Life Care to the name.
“I was 12 years old when Camellia Gardens opened,” said Cooper. “I can remember my mother driving by this facility after it had opened and seeing two nurses standing out front with their white uniforms and caps and thinking how much I wanted to become a nurse and how beautiful Camellia Gardens was.”
Cooper worked at Camellia Gardens from 1973-1985 in several capacities, including certified nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, social services director, admissions and marketing director and activities director. She left to be a stay-at-home mother until she returned in 1998 and worked several positions until earning her administrator’s license.
“Looking back on the last 50 years, many friends and memories have been made as Camellia Gardens of Life Care has provided skilled nursing care to many within our small community,” said Cooper. “I’ve seen at least two to three generations of families choose Camellia Gardens, and it gives me a great deal of pride to have people compliment us for services we have provided for 50 years. We look forward to our future as we take pride in celebrating our past.”