Facility’s 10th anniversary highlighted by recognition from Care Wisconsin
Operators of Anita’s Gardens, the assisted-living facility based in Port Washington, found a unique way to celebrate their 10th anniversary last week.
They hosted a community reception that also included receiving the Provider Excellence Award from Care Wisconsin, a non-profit managed-care organization that monitors health and long-term care facilities and services in the state.
The recognition was initiated just last year, which makes the Port CBRF one of the first to receive the award.
Anita’s Gardens was founded 10 years ago by partners Bridgette Benavides and Kathleen Mahoney Benavides. At 117 E. Van Buren St., it stands in the shadow of the historic St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
Since its opening, the facility has averaged nearly full occupancy.
Although they initially leased the building from the parish, Benavides and Mahoney Benavides purchased it in 2013 to give them more options in making improvements to the facility.
When considering a name for the CBRF, Benavides said she naturally thought of her late mother.
Anita Benavides was a caretaker in Milwaukee for many years, in addition to being the devoted mother of 10 children.
“From early on, she instilled in me and my nine brothers and sisters the importance of honoring and caring for our elders,” Bridgette Benavides said.
“That is why it is so important to us that our residents are treated with the same level of care, respect and love that we would treat our own family members. They deserve that.”
She said the statewide recognition is acknowledgement that her mother’s lessons were received.
“I have no doubt in my mind that as we accept this award, the spirit of my mother will be there with us … smiling proudly at the legacy she has created,” Benavides said.
As it turned out, the appeal of treating elderly residents like family quickly spread beyond Port Washington.
In 2014, Anita’s Gardens opened a 16-room facility at 1777 W Highland Dr. in Grafton, and it recently added a 20-unit CBRF in Plymouth to its portfolio of care options.
To earn the Provider Excellence Award, a facility needs to be nominated in one of three categories. The Port facility actually won the honor in two categories — exceptional service implementation and provider innovation.
Established in 1976, Care Wisconsin coordinates services for more than 6,700 members in 39 counties throughout the state.
The organization works primarily “filling gaps and helping people in our communities who are most at risk — low income, frail elders and adults with disabilities — through the coordination of health and long-term services.”
Image Information: A RECEPTION WAS held last week to mark the 10th anniversary of the Anita’s Gardens assisted-living facility in Port Washington, and to celebrate a recent statewide honor. The facility earned a Provider Excellence Award by Care Wisconsin. Taking part in the festivities were (from left) Julie Schmitz of Care Wisconsin, administrator Danielle Beining, owners Kathy and Bridgette Benavides, bookkeeper Nick Benavides and manager Melissa Kassens. They stood in front of a portrait of Anita Benavides. Photo by Sam Arendt