Heritage - The North Hill Story
Back in the late 1970s when North Hill was first created, our founders had a vision for an innovative model of senior housing that was met with great success. In 2011, we began an ambitious initiative to re-imagine senior housing as inspired senior living. The effort known as "Project True North" has established the community as a New England and national leader in delivering superior experiences and opportunities to older adults.
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In the late 1970s, a group of local leaders from Needham and Wellesley recognized a real need in the housing market: as people grew older, their own homes were no longer a great fit.
These leaders envisioned the creation of a new kind of a housing option … one with the right services, amenities, and health care options that would help their fellow citizens (and someday themselves) preserve their cherished independence, enjoy peace of mind and stay close to their families and friends.
At the same time, the Trustees of Babson College were looking to find an appropriate use for an undeveloped 59 acre parcel of land on the eastern side of its campus. These two groups were made aware of each other, and quiet conversations began to take place which were very encouraging. Before long, a developer was selected, a master plan drawn and the town of Needham cast its vote for the project. North Hill is now a cherished member of the community.
When it came time to build North Hill, an important decision had to be made about which financial model to embrace. At that time, there were essentially two different financial models of full service retirement communities. One, known as Lifecare, cost a little more, but kept pricing stable even if a person had to move to a higher level of care. The other cost less, but if a person needed to move from residential living to nursing care, the costs of living at the community would rise substantially for the person.
North Hill liked the idea of Lifecare very much. This approach would enable people to enjoy life in a vibrant setting and preserve their assets even if they experienced unforeseen or lengthy health problems. However, there was one big downside to Lifecare model that North Hill didn’t like. All of the Lifecare communities at that time had a policy of not refunding entrance fees except as required by law. The communities that didn’t offer life care offered a refund of entrance fees above what the law required.
Like the people who live here, North Hill did not want to settle for less. A new financial model was invented: a Lifecare community with a 90% refundable entrance fee.
(North Hill’s bold decision to combine Lifecare with a 90% refundable entrance fee is now a very common practice. We don’t mind… imitation is the sincerest form of flattery)
Jarvis Farley might well be called the father of North Hill. When the trustees of Babson College decided in 1979 to lease 59 acres of land to North Hill, they called on Jarvis Farley, corporator of the College, to become the first President of the new not-for-profit organization. Jarvis agreed and quickly began leadership of the project. He served as president for 6 years until he resigned in 1985 to become a resident with his wife, Betty.
Farley made his career as an actuary. His expertise was instrumental as North Hill innovated a new financial model for the community.
A 'can-do' spirit also made Farley ideally suited for the task. He created a pricing structure for North Hill that:
- kept North Hill affordable for the people in our neighborhood,
- offered a Lifecare agreement that ensured affordability even if long term care was needed, and
- provided a 90% refund of the entrance fee.
North Hill has stayed true to the principles and founding goals of Farley and the other bold leaders who created the community (many of whom have made their home at North Hill over the years). Our strong financial position has allowed us to reimagine the future of senior living and launch Project True North.
In October 2011 North Hill launched "Project True North." This initiative was an integral part of our commitment to regain our position as the leading provider of the most progressive personalized services to people as they age. Through Project True North, residents and team members together reinvented North Hill while taking advantage of our tradition of innovation, our history of financial and operational strength, our tranquil and convenient location, and our commitment to Whole Person Wellness.
This reinvention encompassed enhancements to physical bricks and mortar as well as new programs and services.
The physical transformation of our campus is now visible from the moment you come up the hill past our innovative "small house" Health Center and Enhanced Living neighborhoods, through the new Town Green and then up to the dramatic multi-level entry with the new retail outlets, Technology Center, and dining venues. WellSpring Landing, our new Wellness Center, features a completely renovated indoor pool and state-of-the-art fitness equipment, Greenhouse, Woodworking Shop and Art Studios. These are just a few of the amazing spaces that promote and support PurposeFULL Living.
What is PurposeFULL Living? It is the approach to life that lies at the heart of North Hill, Vista Terrace and Pins Edge. It is founded in the view that whole person wellness is derived from meaningful engagement in all dimensions of the human experience.
North Hill has made its vision real, transforming itself into a community where there are opportunities for healthy choices in all the dimensions of wellness, with ways to enjoy the satisfaction of mastering a talent, discovering a new passion, the joy of sharing knowledge and helping others, and the pleasures of a vibrant, social atmosphere.