Birch Hill Terrace Announces Affiliation with The RiverWoods Group

Birch Hill to Begin $9 million Renovation and Improvement Plan

Cathleen Toomey

July 12, 2016, Manchester
Birch Hill Terrace, a non-profit charitable Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) with roots in Manchester that goback 125 years, announced an affiliation with The RiverWoods Group, a non-profit, charitable organization that is parent
company of RiverWoods Continuing Care Retirement Community ( CCRC), based in Exeter, New Hampshire.

TRWG_RW_BHT_LGV00341This announcement is the culmination of a two year process of discussion and deliberation between the two boards. The affiliation has received approval by the NH Department of Insurance, which governs CCRCs, as well as the NH Department of Charitable Trust, which must review and approve such proposals in the state.

“We are thrilled that our work together has culminated in this partnership,” said Gary Zabierek, President of Birch Hill Terrace. “This affiliation will bring fresh ideas and resources to the table. Next month we will start a major capital investment in our physical plant, which will transform the look of our apartment homes, and bring new energy to the community.”

Justine Vogel, CEO and President of The RiverWoods Group added, “Although we have not taken this step until now, Birch Hill and RiverWoods already share identical values and mission; we were both founded by grassroots community members interested in improving the lives of others. Together, we can provide peace of mind to more seniors in New Hampshire. As two charitable non-profit CCRCs we will both benefit from an affiliation.”

With approval in hand, improvements are the next step. Birch Hill is revealing their plans for a reimaged community, and will be investing $9 million in the next 24 months into the building. This will be the single largest capital investment in the company’s history.

Nationally, there are close to 2000 Continuing Care Retirement Communities, and the concept has been around for more than 100 years. With that said, the story of this “holistic approach” to senior care is only now being shared with the public. Although it’s growing, right now there only are a handful of CCRCs in northern New England. However, interest and education about this concept has been rapidly increasing among retirees. CCRCs welcome people 62 years or older, to enter as independent residents. Once there, residents can enjoy a variety of amenities (housekeeping, laundry service, dining, inside and outside maintenance, programs and exercise classes), while making friends. As they age, if a resident needs a higher level of care, it is available to them within the same campus. Depending on the CCRC contract type, this is generally at a reduced cost. Additionally, often a resident can get a refund on their initial entrance fee, when they pass away or move. To provide affordability and meet the needs of a clientele looking for comfort and quality care, the majority of CCRCs are non-profit, and many are organized within systems.

In addition to its capital improvement plans, Birch Hill has also created a new program, the Leader’s Circle, that provides significant financial incentives and special home upgrades to a limited number of people. The plans for Leader’s Circle will be reviewed at a luncheon program open to the public on September 21, at LaBelle Winery. To reserve a seat, please contact or call 603-836-2302.

“We will transform our campus in the next 2 years,” said Gary Zabierek. “I can tell you that if you think you’ve seen Birch Hill, you owe it to yourself to take a second look.”

About Birch Hill

Birch Hill Terrace’s history dates back to 1875 with the founding of The Manchester Women’s Aid and Relief Society. Since then, the organization has continually evolved to meet the needs of the Manchester community. The Women’s Aid Home, known as Pearl Manor was established in 1891, and in 1991 a new campus, Hillcrest Terrace, was created to serve a growing number of independent seniors in the greater Manchester area. In 2009, the organization became a CCRC Continuing Care Retirement Community, and changed its name to Birch Hill Terrace, providing independent, assisted living, memory support and nursing care to its 180 residents.

About RiverWoods

RiverWoods is a nationally-accredited charitable non-profit CCRC located on 200 acres in Exeter, New Hampshire. Founded in 1994 by a small group of area residents, today RiverWoods has three distinct campuses, with close to 400 apartments and cottages, home to 620 residents, supported by more than 510 staff. The organization established a parent company, The RiverWoods Group, in 2013, with the goal of working to further the founder’s original mission, while maintaining strong core campuses. RiverWoods is the first affiliate, and Birch Hill Terrace is the second, providing a strong match in values and mission, and bringing a diversity of geography and contract type to The RiverWoods Group portfolio. For a primer on CCRCs, click here to download the Insider’s Guide to CCRCs.