Chapel Chimes: A Typical Day

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date September 14, 2023

Reflection from Kirkwood Chaplain, The Rev. Lucy Turner

It is a typical day at Kirkwood by the River. I am surrounded by people engaged in activities of all kinds. At several tables, residents are playing Dominoes.  At two other tables are the bridge groups. Another table is dedicated to jigsaw puzzles: a popular group activity. Others are sitting alone in the light-filled living room, absorbed in the latest edition of the Wall Street Journal. The fireplace is cold on this hot summer afternoon, but it is a popular spot just the same.

Down the hall, the big room is being readied for the annual luau, one of the biggest parties of the year. A resident passes by—walking the halls with purpose, determined to get in her 10,000 steps today. A few folks gather by the windows overlooking the Cahaba River as a big thunderstorm passes through.

In Hillside, the residents of Memory Care are more than likely playing Bible Jingo, their favorite game. On two lower floors are Riverview Rehab and Skilled Nursing, where some people receive short-term rehab and then return to life outside of Kirkwood and others receive long-term care given with kindness and compassion.

Kirkwood is a fine place to be today – or any day, for that matter. As I prepare to leave and join the ranks of the fully retired, I know I will miss being here—a lot at first. I will miss the residents I have come to love. I will miss the staff members who have become treasured colleagues. I will miss being a part of this ministry, because that is what the work of Kirkwood really is – a ministry.

However, I will be back. When the time comes for me to down-size and seek a supportive community, I cannot imagine any other place I’d choose to live than Kirkwood – a place of friendship, activity, purpose, ministry, compassion, comfort, and security.





The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents