Teresa Ferlito has been introducing premier retirement living to the community for the past 15 years and now it’s time for her to enjoy that carefree lifestyle.
Ferlito, the Oswego Health Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Springside at Seneca Hill retired April 30.
She has led the success of Springside ever since the first shovel of dirt was turned for the project more than 15 years ago.
While now a popular concept that retirement can bring a whole new lifestyle, in the late 1990s, the independent living and healthy retirement lifestyle concept that Springside offers, was a rather new idea locally.
“When Springside was first introduced to our community, I believe the initial reaction was both interest and relief that a living option was presented to active seniors that also provided immediate access to the Oswego Health continuum of care, including a hospital and nursing home,” said Pamela Caraccioli, Springside’s first board president.
Caraccioli lead the team that oversaw the feasibility, construction and introduction of Springside to the community.
Other team members included the late Dee Heckethorn and Norris Jones, who were board members at the time, as well as Corte Spencer, former Oswego Health Administrator and CEO and Jeff Coakley, an Oswego Health vice president.
Springside was among several buildings Oswego Health constructed more than 15 years ago on the Seneca Hill campus, located on County Route 45A, halfway between Oswego and Fulton.
The Manor at Seneca Hill, a skilled nursing home, and nearby Seneca Hill Health Services Center were unveiled in 1999.
Ferlito recalled what it was like when she was initially promoting Springside, “It was pretty exciting because this was a different type of facility. It was an accomplishment to help build Springside and then to be able to lead the facility.“
To attract those age 62 and older to move into one of the 44 congregate apartments or cottages and duplexes, Ferlito and the Oswego Health team spoke to civic groups and held open houses.
When Springside opened in April 2000, there were five residents that first week.
Today, the facility consistently enjoys an occupancy rate of 95 percent or higher each year.
Ferlito said that Springside is more than a place to live it’s a lifestyle that promotes health, both physical and mental.
There are programs offered by SUNY Oswego professors, regular quality entertainment, exercise classes and the delicious healthy meals that are served nightly.
One of Ferlito’s favorite accomplishments is repeatedly having residents tell her as they settled into Springside that they had no regrets leaving a home they have lived in for many years.
“It’s just been wonderful seeing residents realize the true benefits of Springside,” she said.
Helping Ferlito operate Springside has been a dedicated staff.
“I have been fortunate to have a great staff, some have stayed with me for 15 years, and others for more than 10 years,” Ferlito said. “While the team has been good for me, it’s been wonderful for the residents to have that continuity of service.”
Ferlito admits she will miss the residents, who she says are each special and unique. She adds that the residents have had a hand in the facility’s success.
Through the years they have supported numerous projects such as a wisteria-covered pergola, a the flower-filled garden and the attractive front entrance area, as well as provided new equipment for the exercise room.
“The residents always believed in where they lived and were proud of the facility,” Ferlito said.
Oswego Health President and CEO Ann C. Gilpin also shared her pride in Teresa’s ability to build a sense of community for retirees that previously wasn’t available locally.
“Teresa has worked tirelessly to ensure Springside is a premier retirement community, which is clearly evident when you see the caring and special relationships she has with the residents,” she said.
As Ferlito leaves Springside, she too is proud of the facility that she built from the ground up, especially when a new visitor would arrive at the main entrance.
“They would see the beautiful chandeliers in the main dining room along with the stone fireplace and the elliptical windows and it would be that wow factor,” she said. “It’s the nicest compliment and we still get it today.”