Photo by Emma Kirkemier/Messenger
Husband and wife duo Jerry Paul and Melissa Tinsley (pictured above) aspire to redefine independent senior living.
In 2020 the couple opened Oak Hill Village, a continuing care retirement community consisting of 12 stand-alone craftsman-style homes.
Jerry has been involved in senior care for as long as he can remember. He was raised among senior folks from a very young age because his grandmother was in the nursing home industry.
“I was pushing a food cart at 8 years old,” he said. “So, I’ve always had this affinity for seniors.”
Opening Oak Hill Village fulfilled a dream for Jerry as the program’s CEO, offering a smooth transition from independent living to assisted living, then to specialty care if needed.
Jerry began his journey in 2000 by opening Oak Landing Assisted Living. Melissa came on board in 2013 as CFO when they opened Oak Landing Specialty Care.
All three facilities are located on the same campus at 410 Decatur Avenue in Attalla.
“The whole purpose of Oak Hill Village is to offer something the Etowah County area does not have to offer senior citizens,” Jerry said. “Something that is affordable yet upscale, clean, safe and with autonomy where you do not have to share a wall with somebody. Everything we do is by faith, and this is something I’ve prayed about for many years. God opened the door for me on the property.”
The Tinsleys first encountered the unique format of independent living on a trip to Central Florida.
“I loved the style of homes and the quaintness of the village (in Florida),” Jerry said. “I thought it was a really progressive idea, and to the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing resembling it in our tri-county area. The idea we brought from Florida offers craftsman-style homes, which include two bedrooms, one double vanity bathroom, a den and a full-service kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops throughout and pocket doors that eliminate door swing to provide more room.
“The den and kitchen have 12-foot ceilings and each house has a washer and dryer. All primary bedrooms have a walk-in closet with shelves and a shoe rack, and each bathroom has a step-in shower with safety bars and a built-in seat. This includes all utilities except cable, including all repairs and weekly lawn maintenance. Small pets are allowed for a fee. For convenience, nursing care is available, and our facility physician, Dr. Karl Uy, visits every other Thursday should [residents] need to see him. Other amenities include access to the clubhouse that has a theater, a large kitchen for group gatherings and church services.”
“The development is in the shape of a semi-circle to promote that sense of community and inclusion,” Melissa said. “You can come out of your house and see your community. We also have staff that live there and operates the clubhouse.”
Jerry was proud to say the Village has been blessed to have Bobby and Martha Bryant as the property managers, who check on residents daily and are always there to help with any problems.
“One of the most attractive things about Oak Hill Village is we are family owned, ‘Mom and Pop,’ if you will,” Melissa said. “It gives us the ability to make decisions then and there versus a large corporate structure where decisions are often made states away.”
When the time comes that residents need more assistance and it is just not safe to live independently, they have the option to be first in line for the next available apartment next door at Oak Landing Assisted Living.
“That is the whole point in step-level senior care,” Jerry said. “The concept may be new to most people because it is not something we sit around and talk about until we are faced with those decisions within our own household. It makes for an easier transition from independent living to assisted living on the same familiar campus.
“Melissa and I make ourselves available to all families whether they live on campus or not. It can be a very lonely place not to have someone to bounce questions off of when a family is faced with these types of decisions.”
The Tinsleys are not absentee owners. Residents will find them on the property daily to answer questions or give advice with over 23 years of experience to draw from.
“I believe we can all relate to the old adage, ‘It takes a village,’” Jerry said.
Submitted by Jerry Tinsley. Emma Kirkemier contributed to this article.