If you’ve ever seen the beautiful English Meadows Elks Home Campus in Bedford, there’s a good chance that you wished you were a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks just so you could live there. But there’s good news: It’s not just for Elks anymore!
“The Elks Home was a 100-year-old senior living community specifically for Elks,” says Mike Williams, co-owner of English Meadows Senior Living Communities. “Over the past couple decades, the number of Elks around the country shrunk, and then also the quantity of senior living communities around the country went up, so they didn’t have to travel all the way to Bedford.”
Williams started as a consultant for the community, before eventually becoming an owner. “At one point, they had over 400 residents there,” he says. “And it dwindled down to where, when I first started working with them, they were down to 60 residents. I started consulting with them and trying to help them with what they needed to do. I basically told them they needed to open up to the general public. The National Elks Board said, ‘No; let’s just find a way to sell it because it’s no longer our mission, and it’s more of a business.’ So they asked if we would be interested in purchasing it, which we did. We took over September of 2014.”
From there, the new ownership made changes to more than just the resident requirements. “We enhanced all the services we offer in assisted living and memory care,” Williams says. “We updated a lot of the technology in the services that we provide and have increased the resident care staffing, as well. We’ve gotten to the point where, with 180 residents, there are about 100 people working daily. We work with all levels of care. We have a rehab company that’s onsite that provides services and has a gym there, as well. We have doctors that are onsite that have their own offices there and do checkups for residents.”
And the folks at English Meadows don’t skimp on the fun, either. “We have full activities and transportation; they go on trips to the D-Day Memorial that’s right down the street,” Williams says. “We have our own theater onsite where a local theater group puts on five programs every year. The campus is very tight with the Bedford community because it’s right in town, so we have a lot of groups that come and participate.”
But perhaps the biggest selling point for this community is the community itself. “It’s a very unique campus,” Williams says. “It’s over 180 acres, it has a nine-hole golf course, a tremendous dining hall. Not only does the local high school use it for their prom and other special events around the community, but it’s also been in a couple of movies. There’s a library where books have been building up since the early 30s and 40s. There are 13 different buildings. And they also started – 62 years ago – a Christmas light display that is now ranked as one of the top places in Virginia to visit during the holidays. Last year, we had almost 30,000 cars come through during a three-week period, which was about 100,000 people.”just
“It’s just a beautiful campus,” Williams continues. “It’s so aesthetically pleasing. You couldn’t build this place again if you tried.”