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The Culpeper is an active community where new and interesting things are always happening. Read all the latest news here.

LifeSpire of Virginia awards staff scholarships


By Ann Lovell

CULPEPER, Virginia—LifeSpire of Virginia recently awarded its first-ever employee scholarships to staff and family of The Culpeper, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community in Culpeper.  Kristen Peters, a dining services employee at The Culpeper, and Brandi Houck, daughter of Paula Bolton, The Culpeper’s assisted living administrator, each received $1,500 to continue their education. Peters, a graduate of Culpeper County high school, plans to pursue a degree in nursing. Houck, a graduate of Eastern View high school, will attend Christopher Newport University in the fall.

The scholarships are funded through donations to LifeSpire’s employee education fund and administered by the Virginia Baptist Homes Foundation, LifeSpire’s benevolent arm. Scholarships are available to employees and children or grandchildren of employees.

“We are pleased to provide scholarships to these students, and we are grateful to our donors who helped make these inaugural awards possible,” said Patricia Morris, vice president of the VBH Foundation. “We wish Kristen and Brandi the very best in their future studies.”

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

The Culpeper breaks ground


By Ann Lovell

More than 225 residents, staff and guests of The Culpeper gathered May 10 to break ground on their new home — an estimated $23 million, 125,000 square-foot facility that will include space for independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing and memory care. The new Culpeper will also offer residents larger living space, modern dining facilities, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Utilizing the theme, “Building for Tomorrow,” the afternoon was a celebration of The Culpeper’s past, present and future. Randall Robinson, former president and CEO of Virginia Baptist Homes, the predecessor to LifeSpire of Virginia, recalled The Culpeper’s history and the courage and vision it took for Dr. J.T. Edwards, then pastor of Culpeper Baptist Church, to build the very first Virginia Baptist Home just following World War II.

“(Edwards) took it upon himself to travel down to Richmond to meet with the executive committee of the Baptist Board,” Robinson said. “You have to remember this was during World War II, during a time when people knew nothing but cutbacks. This was a time not to spend but to save.”

However, Robinson noted, when The Culpeper was dedicated in October 1950, the new building was paid for as the result of an intensive state-wide capital campaign by Edwards and his team. “That’s an essential part of our past,” Robinson said.

While Robinson shared about the past, residents Mary Miller and Kathy Davis shared their enthusiasm for living at The Culpeper today, describing it a “wonderful experience.”

“I’ve felt safe and secure, Miller said. “And the residents have been like a second family.”

Davis agreed. “We were tired of raking leaves. Facing reality, we knew we’d face life changes, and we would need to move into a retired assisted living community,” Davis said. “We have found exactly what we were looking for.”

Looking toward the future, Jonathan Cook, current president and CEO of Lifespire of Virginia, began by reading a 1980s-era letter from former board chair, Hunter Riggins. The letter detailed the need for a new building at The Culpeper and the lack of resources available at that time to provide one.

“This letter was written in 1980, meaning we’ve been talking about a new building for quite a long time within Virginia Baptist Homes,” Cook said. “Today we are excited to say that we are making that a reality. While we honor our past, it is now time to look toward the future.”

“This building has been our ancestral home for almost 70 years,” Cook continued. “This building has provided care for tens of thousands of Virginia Baptists; this building has provided a living for thousands of staff in the area, and this building has been closely tied to the identity of Virginia Baptist Homes.”

“Today we are starting a new beginning for the Culpeper,” Cook concluded. “I just want to thank you all for being a part of it and challenge us all to make sure we carry that long and rich history and tradition of care into our new building.”


Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

Walter Gil is grateful and giving back

May 15, 2017

By Ann Lovell

CULPEPER, Virginia–When Walter Gil isn’t on duty at The Culpeper, you can find him spending his evenings at The Lollipop Station. Walter, who serves as The Culpeper’s director of maintenance, opened the candy and toy shop in downtown Culpeper with his wife, Faith, in 2014. Located in a historic building on Davis Street, the business is quickly becoming a popular fixture in downtown Culpeper: The Culpeper Chamber of Commerce named the couple Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015.

Although neither of the Gils has a business background, they did extensive research on the types of businesses that thrive in towns like Culpeper. As they considered the types of products they would offer, Walter said manufacturers offered them merchandise on credit because they were impressed with the business model and plan.

“There was adult shopping and entertainment, but really nothing for kids,” Walter said in an interview with The Culpeper Star Exponent in 2015. “Our original idea was for a candy store, but we saw communities with specialty toy stores and found a niche that was missing there.”

The Gils consider the toy store a “labor of love,” and they consistently look for creative ways to support the community. They purposely price their educational toys to bring families of all economic levels into downtown. A stage in the shop offers Saturday morning story time and puppet shows, and a party room hosts birthdays and other special events.

“Giving back to the community is important to me and my family,” said Walter, who immigrated from Guatemala City to northern Virginia in 1999. His grandparents were naturalized citizens, Walter says, and he never doubted that he would follow their path. Walter became a U.S. citizen in 2009 to provide a better life for his two sons, who also became citizens in 2012 and 2013.

Neither Walter, who joined the staff at The Culpeper in 2016, nor Faith is a stranger to hard work. Walter previously worked as the maintenance director at Culpeper Health and Rehabilitation Center. Faith, a social worker, is a regional coordinator for Easter Seals. Both manage the store after their regular working hours.

At The Culpeper, Walter and his team are heavily involved with the expansion project, working with architects and designers on construction details for the new facility. Meeting the daily challenges of a 70-year old building isn’t always easy, Walter says, but he loves the people — both residents and staff.

“The staff come and do their jobs every day with smiles on their faces, and that’s very motivating for everybody,” Walter said. “We’ve got a great team, and that’s what I love the most.”

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia. Patricia Morris, Vice President of the VBH Foundation, contributed to this story. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

The Culpeper to break ground on May 10

By Ann Lovell

CULPEPER, Virginia—Residents at The Culpeper, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community, will soon say goodbye to their 70-year-old building and welcome a new state-of-the-art facility. The new Culpeper will offer residents larger living space, modern dining facilities, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a memory care neighborhood, the only one of its kind in the Culpeper area.

On May 10, The Culpeper will break ground on its new community. While the old building will continue to serve residents until the new building is completed, residents and the greater Culpeper community are invited to gather on the front lawn at 2 p.m., May 10, to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony. Utilizing the theme, “Building for Tomorrow,” the afternoon will include brief remarks from community leaders, displays of historic photos, a video of the original 1949 ground breaking, and architectural renderings of the future community, among other surprises.

And yes, there will be opportunity to move some dirt.

“Yes, there will be shovels,” said Jim Jacobsen, executive director of The Culpeper. “We will have opportunity for everyone to put a shovel in the ground. We expect it to be a fun afternoon, and we are pleased to open our doors to the community for this event.”

When the original building was constructed in 1949, it was state-of-the-art for the time. Over the years, however, the building could not keep pace with the demands of today’s active seniors, explained Peter Robinson, Vice-President of Marketing and Public Relations for LifeSpire of Virginia, The Culpeper’s parent company.

“The new facility is modern and state-of-the-art, in keeping with the vision of The Culpeper’s original founders,” Robinson said. “We want to assure that seniors who live in the Culpeper community don’t have to leave Culpeper to find compassionate care in modern, comfortable surroundings.”

While a new building is welcomed, demolishing a 70-year-old building steeped in tradition doesn’t happen without a degree of sentimentality. Jacobsen and his team worked with The Culpeper’s residents and the greater Culpeper community to discuss their feelings associated with tearing down the old building. As a result, some of the features of the old building will be preserved, including the stained glass from the chapel, which will be displayed in the new lobby.

“We recognize the rich legacy of our past, and we honor those beginnings,” Jacobsen said. “At the same time, we are embracing the future and renewing our commitment to tomorrow’s seniors to provide exceptional care in a family atmosphere. That commitment is what makes The Culpeper such a special place to live.”

The Culpeper is located at 12425 Village Loop in Culpeper, Virginia, 22701. Phone number is 540-825-2411.

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.
LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

Planning for the life you want to live


By Ann Lovell

For many of us, retirement will be here much more quickly than we might expect. According to a 2015 fact sheet on aging and health from the World Health Organization, the pace of the world’s population is aging much faster than in the past. By 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years. Today, WHO reports, 125 million people are aged 80 years or older. By 2050, 120 million aged 80 or older will be living in China alone.

With these statistics in mind, it is never too early to begin planning for retirement. In a recent article for Forbes magazine, Richard Eisenberg offered nine keys to a happy retirement:

Spend time with your children and grandchildren if you have them.

Eisenberg references Stan Hinden, author of How to Retire Happy, who suggests one of the best ways to be happy is to find ways to spend time with your children and grandchildren, even though they may be busy. “You need them,” Hinden said. “Whether they realize it or not, they need you.”

What if you don’t have children or grandchildren? We suggest you connect with younger generations in a way that utilizes your experiences and strengths for their benefit. Tutor a high school student in math or science. Teach a class on investing at your church or community center. Allow kindergarteners at your local elementary school to read to you. The opportunities — and benefits — are endless.

Keep a schedule, but not like your pre-retirement one.

Eisenberg describes a study from Taiwan that asserts the key to a happy retirement isn’t how much free time you have, but how you manage your available time. A schedule helps prevent boredom, depression and loneliness, Eisenberg says. While you may be able to throw your pre-retirement planner away, having a daily or a weekly plan will help organize your activities and maintain control of your schedule.

Learn new things or pursue your passions.

Remember thinking, “When I retire, I’m going to …”? Now you can write that novel, travel, take a cruise, or learn to play the guitar. Retirement is the time to pursue your passions and learn new skills. Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book, Little House in the Big Woods, when she was 64. The eight-book series that followed has since been translated into 40 languages.

Get a part-time job.

According to Eisenberg, studies show that working in retirement keeps your mind sharp and helps you avoid feeling isolated and lonely. Your current employer may offer a phased-retirement plan, or you could set up your own business as a consultant or contractor. Maybe it’s time to pursue a part-time job in another field. A semi-retired writer I know now drives a school bus for his local public school system. The job not only provides him additional health insurance benefits, but the interactions with students fuels his stories. (See #1 above).

To the extent possible, stay engaged and healthy.

According to Eisenberg, career coach Bill Ellermeyer says the happiest retirees are either engaged in meaningful activity or are actively employed. Whether your work is paid or volunteer, finding a way to contribute to society will help you stay engaged. Regular exercise and good nutrition will help you stay healthy.

Choose when to retire and then follow through.

“The authors of The Retirement Maze surveyed 1,477 retirees to see what made the happy ones happy,” Eisenberg writes. “They found that 69 percent of the retirees who retired by choice were satisfied with their lifestyle but only 36 percent pushed into retirement said they were.”

But what if you had a plan for retirement, and organizational changes either hastened your departure or you were, as Eisenberg describes, “pushed into retirement”? Can you still be happy? A 2012 Forbes article by Margie Warrell references research by psychologist Marty Seligman who found that those most likely to succeed after a setback like involuntary retirement frame the experience differently from those who continue to struggle. Remember that your job status does not define you, Warrell asserts. If you can interpret forced retirement as an opportunity to grow and re-prioritize, you can look forward to your future with excitement.

Come up with a retirement income plan.

“Figure up how much your 401(k) and other accounts will translate into monthly income; how much you’ll get from Social Security and any pension; how much you can afford to withdraw each year, and which accounts you’ll tap first for withdrawals to keep taxes down,” Eisenberg advises.

 Adjusting your housing needs may also factor into your income plan. How much maintenance will your home require? Should you consider downsizing to minimize upkeep? Should you consider moving to a one-story home? Should you consider the future possibility of assisted living or healthcare for yourself or your spouse? Seek advice from your financial planner or a retirement counselor as you make these decisions.

If you have a spouse or partner, talk about your plans together.

Much like you did in the early days of your relationship, talking with your spouse or partner about your hopes and dreams for retirement may give you both a sense of excitement and hope for the future. Quoting Neal Frankle, a noted financial planner, Eisenberg suggests that couples discuss their retirement dreams and write them down. Identifying each item as a “must have,” a “want,” or a “wish” will also help clarify your goals and aspirations. Of course, as with every decision in your relationship, be ready to compromise!

Figure out in advance what you want out of retirement.

Whether you want to travel the world or retire to a cabin in the woods, knowing how you want to spend your days, where you’ll spend them, and who you hope to spend them with are key decisions if you hope to make the most of the years ahead. Remember the words of George Burns, “Retirement at 65 is ridiculous. When I was 65, I still had pimples.”

Retirement counselors at The Culpeper can introduce you to the benefits of maintenance-free living and discuss with you how you can live the life you want to live. For more information, contact them today!


Ann Lovell is corporate director of communications for LifeSpire of Virginia. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.

Compare us with other CCRCs!

Choosing a continuing care retirement community is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, and knowing and comparing your options is an important part of the selection process. “Where you live matters,” a website sponsored by the American Seniors Housing Association, has developed a CCRC visit checklist to help you identify the amenities and services that will best fit your lifestyle in your retirement years. We encourage you to download and print this resource and bring it with you when you visit The Culpeper and other CCRCs. We think you’ll find we have everything you need to make your next move your best move!

Schedule an appointment with one of our retirement counselors for a visit today!

The faces of The Culpeper

The Culpeper has a special kind of atmosphere. See what our residents and employees have to say about living and working here.

Visit The Culpeper

The Culpeper recognized for operational and customer service excellence by LifeSpire of Virginia


By Ann Lovell

Rose Wallace (left), Jim Jacobsen (center), and Kelly Trout (right) display awards they received on behalf of The Culpeper at a recent awards ceremony.

CULPEPER, Virginia—LifeSpire leadership recognized each of its four continuing care retirement communities for operational and customer service excellence at an awards ceremony Sept. 27. The Culpeper, formerly Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community, received a number of awards, including:

  • Spirit of Giving 2016 for highest percentage of employees participating in the employee crisis fund
  • First Impression 2016 for best appearance of the community
  • Fiscal Management 2016 for the community that performed best compared to budget in relation to campus financial results
  • Graves-Morris Award for largest net gain in independent living occupancy: The Culpeper

In addition, The Culpeper’s marketing director, Rose Wallace, received the Peak Performance Award for the highest closing ratio.

“We are very pleased that our corporate office chose to recognize us in this way,” said Jim Jacobsen, executive director of The Culpeper. “All of our employees work very hard to ensure we offer the best quality of life to our residents. I’m very proud of their efforts.”

LifeSpire owns and operates four retirement communities serving approximately 1,200 residents throughout Virginia: The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville, The Chesapeake in Newport News, and Lakewood in Richmond.

Ann Lovell is corporate director of communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.



Hans Murdock assumes joint role with The Culpeper and Culpeper Baptist Church


By Ann Lovell

hans-murdockCULPEPER, Virginia—Fifteen years ago, Hans Murdock was trying to get out of the country. It was September 2001. Murdock and his wife, Becky, were slated to serve a two-year term with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB) in Russia. They had tickets to leave the U.S. in mid-September.

Then 9/11 happened.

“We got a call from the IMB,” Murdock recalled. “‘You’re not going anywhere yet,’ they said. So, we started unpacking everything we’d packed up. We didn’t know how long we would be held up. A couple of days later, we got another call. ‘You can leave in two days.’ We started packing again.’”

Murdock is the newly appointed chaplain at The Culpeper, a LifeSpire of Virginia continuing care retirement community in Culpeper, Virginia. He, his wife, Becky, and their 7-year-old daughter, Sandra, recently relocated to Culpeper from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where Murdock had served as a church planter and pastor since 2004, a role he assumed after he and his wife returned from Russia.

Murdock’s position is a first-of-its-kind collaborative venture between The Culpeper, formerly Culpeper Baptist Retirement Community, and Culpeper Baptist Church (CBC), said Jim Jacobsen, executive director of The Culpeper. Murdock serves both as chaplain at The Culpeper and as senior adult minister at CBC — a vision that began more than a year ago among CBC senior pastor Dan Carlton and the senior leadership of LifeSpire of Virginia, The Culpeper’s parent organization.

“We wanted to strengthen pastoral service programs to seniors at the church and within the community,” Jacobsen said. “Many of our residents are members and active leaders within Culpeper Baptist Church. We support one another in many ways, and the addition of Hans will only enhance our vision of continued family within the community.”

Carlton agreed, noting the partnership is a natural extension of the relationship that The Culpeper and CBC have enjoyed for more than 70 years.

“Culpeper Baptist Church helped start The Culpeper and ultimately Virginia Baptist Homes” (now LifeSpire of Virginia), Carlton said. “What we will be able to do together in engaging people over 60 will be far more than what we could have done separately.”

Carlton, Jacobsen and a panel of community and church staff received more than 50 resumes and interviewed “many solid candidates,” Jacobsen said.

“We had a ‘top 6’ list that was pretty dynamic,” Carlton agreed. “Several candidates told me they would not have applied if it was only a church staff or a senior adult chaplain position. They were excited about the possibility of working in both arenas.”

For his part, Murdock is also excited about the practical ways the church and The Culpeper community can be involved together in spiritual growth in ways that are both intentional and intergenerational.

“Many churches put lots of emphasis on children and youth ministries,” Murdock said. “But for most churches these days, their greatest population is senior adults.” Murdock wants to explore ways to connect seniors and youth in a meaningful way.

“Kids and teenagers don’t always pay attention to their parents, but they will pay attention to their grandparents,” Murdock said.

Murdock believes the teachers and professionals who live at The Culpeper have a lot to offer kids in terms of practical support and life lessons.

“They can listen to children read. They can offer tutoring in math or science. There are great opportunities for them to connect with and continue to influence the community they helped build,” Murdock said.

What else can we expect from this new venture?

“Check back in three years,” Carlton said. “I think we are on track to create a model for spiritual wellness and meaningful ministry for people over 60 that can be replicated in many other communities.”


Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communications for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.