By Andria Barrios

Last month The Crossings at Riverview Assisted Living hosted one of their many exciting events for the elderly, a Gasparilla Pirate Invasion. The home also holds Christmas celebrations, Halloween Trick-or-Treating, 70’s and Valentine’s Day events yearly.

The Crossings got its start in early 2014 and the first residents moved in the following year. Owned by Starling Senior Living in Jacksonville and operated under Saber Healthcare in Ohio, the facility can hold 102 elderly and is now 60 percent full. Their staff of 50 includes a professionally trained chef, experienced RN, elaborate decorators, as well as other friendly members who frequently engage with residents.

“We have beautiful views of the Alafia river with porches, decks and lots of natural light,” Executive Director explained Jennifer King. “We’ve created a warm, family-friendly environment for both staff and residents. Making a difference in an elder person’s life means everything.”

The mock Gasparilla event included Pirates of the Caribbean music and a troop of invading pirates who circled the home passing out beads for all, during breakfast and again at dinner. Staff donned with high boots and fake swords shouted friendly “Arg’s” and a few of the residents even joined in on the fun. Minnie Shaw, one resident, wore an authentic mask from the Mardi Gras, and described her 32 years of attending while living in Louisiana. She was tickled to find her own piece of it at The Crossings.

The home has won several prestigious awards within the past two years it’s been in operation. These include the Caring Stars of 2016, an exclusive given to 800 communities in the country based on reviews from www.caring.com and the Senior Advisor 2016 Best Assisted Living community award for Tampa Bay. The Crossings was also one of the 19 homes in the country to be nominated for the Senior Housing News 2015 Design Award, which focuses on exciting and innovative designs in senior housing.

“I see lonely, struggling elders find new happiness and meaning in life after just a few weeks in our community. This makes work very rewarding,” said King.

The Crossings at Riverview is located at 8451 U.S. Hwy. 301 S. For more information on Saber Healthcare, visit www.saberhealth.com.