On Friday, November 17, Fair Haven in Birmingham held an Open House and Ribbon Cutting to celebrate the completion of its $42.5 million construction and renovation project that began almost two years ago.

North Alabama Conference Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett was on hand to participate in the ceremony and help cut the ribbon. Other particip ants cutting the ribbon included Birmingham Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin, Mountain Brook Mayor Stewart Welch, and Birmingham City Councilor Hunter Williams of District 2. Fair Haven has now become Alabama’s largest continuing care retirement community, and the first in Alabama to fully implement the innovative Household Model for resident care.

The Household Model replicates the look and feel of life at home in the community setting. A front door with doorbell is the first clue that Fair Haven’s households are nothing like traditional hospital-like facilities. Once welcomed inside a household, you’ll find a large living room with fireplace, sunroom, den, therapeutic spa and more, with a real home kitchen where meals are prepared and served, just like home. Visibly missing from the household settings are nurses stations, med carts and other institutional equipment that do not reflect home.

Steve Shields, CEO, Action Pact

Steve Shields, CEO of Action Pact which redesigned Fair Haven and Wesley Place on Honeysuckle’s campuses, is the creator of the Household Model and a nationally-recognized authority on changing the culture of institutional care communities. He spoke briefly to the crowd of approximately 500 attendees about the journey undertaken by Fair Haven and its parent organization, Methodist Homes of Alabama & Northwest Florida.

“Most organizations pick the easy part; everyone can get their head around the physical renovations,” Shields said. “What makes the client [Fair Haven] stand out and one that you know will make deep, impactful community and cultural change is when they embrace all the elements.” Those elements, Shields explained, are not only physical changes, but also financial, social, operational and spiritual changes.

Christopher Tomlin, President & CEO of Methodist Homes

Christopher W. Tomlin, President & CEO of Methodist Homes of Alabama & Northwest Florida thanked the city leadership of Birmingham, Irondale, Mountain Brook and the surrounding areas, as well as the many business partners which preserved Fair Haven’s rich 56-year history and while preparing Fair Haven for a new generation of senior adults.

“We have worked tirelessly to rid ourselves of institution and create home,” said Tomlin. “Residents and guests wake up when they want, eat what they want, and simply do what they want; we dine at a family table with silver and china instead of on a tray which was delivered by a rolling cart – all of which is a departure from what you see in almost every nursing home in this country.”

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, North Alabama Conference, United Methodist Church

Other participants in the brief ceremony included Rev. Wayne Vickery, Fair Haven resident and retired United Methodist Minister; Rev. Alex Oberneder, Senior Pastor at Wilson Chapel UMC, and soon to be Fair Haven’s new chaplain; and Robert L. McKee III, Board Chairman of Methodist Homes of Alabama & Northwest Florida. Randy Allen, Administrator of Wesley Gardens, a Methodist Home in Montgomery, shared his talents at the piano during the ceremony and afterward. Following the ceremony, guests were invited to enjoy refreshments in Fair Haven’s new restaurant, bistro and ice cream parlor, and to take tours of the new household buildings.

Fair Haven, a Methodist Homes of Alabama & Northwest Florida retirement community, is located in Birmingham, Alabama, and offers seniors a full spectrum of housing and care options including independent living, assisted living, short-term rehabilitation, and long-term nursing care. Several partnerships with UAB provide for a medical director, an onsite medical clinic, and an onsite dental clinic at Fair Haven. Call 205-956-4150 for more information.


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