Belmont Village Burbank is a neighborhood within a neighborhood. “The close-knit community of Toluca Lake is mirrored here at Belmont Village,” community relations associate Michelle Sucillon says. “So many folks who worked together or were neighbors in this area have now chosen us as their newest adventure because they feel comfortable and at home here.”
The senior living community was built in 2002 on the historic site of Burbank Community Hospital — the first major hospital in the area, founded in 1907. Belmont Village chose the location due to its safe neighborhood, proximity to shops and restaurants, and availability of comprehensive health care just 3 miles away at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. The fact that there are at least a dozen major entertainment companies within a close radius is also a key appeal; many residents are retired from the industry, while others have family members who work at the studios and can easily visit before or after work.
In addition to an array of support services such as housekeeping, nurses on duty around the clock and meals prepared by Chef Lester Mayoca, Belmont Village prides itself on offering its residents a vibrant social lifestyle. Activity and programs coordinator Jeff Braine, who was introduced to Belmont Village while visiting his grandmother there and loved the experience so much he decided to switch to a career in senior care services, brings his background in acting and improvisation to creating entertaining activities that also emphasize mental fitness, critical thinking and other therapeutic benefits. Residents enjoy programs ranging from trivia to poker to live music and more. “There’s always something going on that makes this a fun meeting place for all ages — seniors, their adult children and their grandchildren,” Braine says.
While the facility offers residents just about everything they need on site, including fitness classes, religious services and movie screenings, maintaining bonds with the wider community is equally important. Belmont Village provides transportation to local shopping and other errands, doctors’ appointments and places of worship, as well as neighborhood scenic drives and other fun outings. (Among residents’ favorite lunch spots in the Toluca Lake area are Ma’s Italian Kitchen, Ca’ Del Sole and Bob’s Big Boy.) The community also comes to Belmont Village for events that bring residents and neighbors together. For instance, the Blessing of the Animals honors residents’ pets each April, with Reverend Ross Purdy of First Presbyterian Church in Burbank presiding and the Burbank Animal Shelter bringing furry friends for adoption, and last June the facility staged a daylong dance-a-thon to raise funds for the Longest Day Alzheimer’s Association.
Enhancing the community connection, many staff members live in the neighborhood, including memory program coordinator Caroline McColl as well as Sucillon, who’s been a Toluca Lake resident for 30 years and appreciates her “11-minute commute” to work every day.
Belmont Village Burbank isn’t just for locals; it also strives to provide a “soft landing” for residents who move in from other cities, with a welcoming committee to help them feel at home. Yet, as community relations associate Grace Jones points out, “Many of our residents found out about us from their friends who already live here — and a majority of them are here because their doctors or churches highly recommended us.”
For newcomers and neighborhood natives alike, it’s clear that Belmont Village creates a sense of home both within and beyond its walls. Some employees have worked at the Burbank location since it opened, and one of the first residents to move in 17 years ago continues to thrive there at 100 years old.
Executive director Chris Schroeder is grateful for how friendly and welcoming the surrounding communities have been to Belmont Village residents. “Many of our residents who have lived in Toluca Lake or Burbank for decades maintain strong ties to their churches, their schools and their civic associations,” he says. “This quality of life is enviable, considering the size of greater Los Angeles. I really love the hometown pride of this area.”