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How a Petersburg assisted living facility has served women, both young and old, for nearly 100 years

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Posted at 6:11 PM, Jul 10, 2024

PETERSBURG, Va. -- 99 years ago, a dream came true when an idea came to life. Now, nearly a century later, what was started by a group of ladies in 1925, continues to serve women in the twilight of their lives.

The Petersburg Home for Ladies, which first began as an idea, now holds a unique place in the city and in the country.

"There's not another, non-profit, assisted living that's all women that I can find," said Petersburg Home for Ladies administrator Jessica Hancock. "Especially one that's been open for 99 years."

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Jessica Hancock

It's that dedication to the women living there that has helped the home thrive for over nine decades.

"For one, we have just women, ladies, that changes things just because they have a certain air of elegance about them, and they are comfortable  in their environment because it is all women, so they feel very at home here," Hancock said.

Women like Petersburg native Betty Jones Ridout, who turns 97 at the end of July, says she picked her room at the home for one special reason.

"I can see my childhood home," Ridout said. "I can see that and it's like full circle."

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Betty Jones Ridout

Many of the home's staff members have been working at the residence for years, with some only teenagers.

"I started my clinical when I was a junior in high school,” CNA Olivia Harrison said. A CNA program in partnership with Colonial Heights High School has expanded.

“So now there are lots of young ladies that work here as well from Colonial Heights and did their clinical’s here as well," Harrison said.

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Olivia Harrison

Now that she is 19 and a sophomore in Clemson University's nursing program, Harrison says she tries to come back to work at the Petersburg home every chance she gets.

"Being here at the Petersburg Home for Ladies has only re-affirmed the dream, working here is not just a job for me, it’s my calling," Harrison said. "I absolutely love taking care of these ladies and they fulfill me every single day.”

And the home and is just as grateful for the young women working to take care of the residents.

"Well, they are our future," Hancock said. "A lot of places you go and apply and they say you need experience. Well we want to teach them the right way."

Helping to train the future staff is key to continuing the success of the Petersburg Home for Ladies, to guarantee what was started in 1925 will be around for another 100 years.

Watch for Wayne Covil's stories on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com. If you know someone Wayne should profile, email him wayne.covil@wtvr.com.

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