Covenant Retirement Communities: A Leader in Faith-Based Senior Living and Continuing Care


Covenant Retirement Communities (CRC) offer seniors a lifestyle that’s filled with freedom and inspiring choices, as well as a wide selection of lovely and completely maintenance-free residences. CRC offers delightful amenities, engaging activities, and wellness opportunities to their residents. They are one of the largest not-for-profit retirement living organizations in the nation with 15 communities in 10 states, including: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Washington.

One Covenant Community that offers a balanced retirement lifestyle for seniors is located in beautiful Plantation, Florida. Covenant Village of Florida (CVOF) sits on approximately 20 acres of land. Having been founded in Miami, Florida in 1951, the Village was later moved to the campus in Plantation. CVOF has earned a reputation as a vibrant senior living community with exceptional health care and sound financial stewardship. The campus-style layout of the community provides residents with common areas for activities and meetings, while retaining the homelike environment.

Someone who knows much about this community is Doug Fennema, the Executive Director. He has overall responsibilities for all aspects of the community and has been with CRC for almost six years and at CVOF for one year.

“We are very distinct in our community feel and spirit,” Doug said. “Through our values, our goal is to nurture a loving community and create joy and peace of mind for the residents and their families. It creates a special kind of beauty in which people are very welcoming, friendly, patient and kind.”

CRC is administered by the Evangelical Covenant Church. It offers faith-based senior living and continuing care. The organization was founded in 1886 as the Home of Mercy, now the Covenant Home of Chicago, in Illinois.

“We’re not shy about the fact that we’re faith-based; our residents are open to that and they share our joy of being a part of who we are,” Karen Cook, the Church and Community Relations Coordinator, said. “We welcome all faiths at Covenant Village.”

Karen said she stays connected with the community by reaching out to local churches and pastors, as well as community organizations. She has been with CRC for six years, but has been with the Covenant denomination since she was born.

“My interest in CRC began when my parents moved into one of our campuses in California,” Karen said, “and continued as my husband became a Covenant pastor and later became the chaplain here at CVOF.”

Karen said people live longer when they are in a community like Covenant Village because they are free to enjoy what they want without the responsibilities of owning a home. They can interact with others and engage in enriching activities.

“One of the things you’ll hear from our residents is that they have so many options regarding activities and things to do for fun,” Karen said. “It’s part of our LifeConnect® Wellness Partnership with residents. Our resident life director on campus works closely with residents to plan and coordinate programs and activities that pique their interest. Residents attend concerts, go to the beach, attend classes, or go out to see a play as a group. The options are endless and varied.”

Some of the services and amenities that the pet-friendly CVOF offers are: Health club with professional caliber fitness equipment and access to a personal trainer and massage therapy; two heated outdoor pools and spa; a beauty salon/barbershop; Bible studies and chapel services; an outdoor area for shuffleboard, putting green and bocce ball; a satellite TV system with 60 channels; and maintenance-free living, including semimonthly housekeeping. The Town Center includes a library with three branches, a Creative Arts Center, media center, woodworking shop, billiards, card/game room and lounges.

“We also encourage community interaction, so even if your apartment is in Assisted Living, you can still meet up with friends for lunch or movies,” Doug said. “We look for continued community regardless of where one lives on campus.”

In addition to independent living, CVOF offers health care services at the community: Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation and Memory Support. “As our residents’ health care needs change, so do the services we provide,” said Doug. “It keeps friends and families together.”

Kim Greenfield, Sales Assistance, recalls her first move-in: a gentleman whose wife had Alzheimer’s. “He was a very active man and he wasn’t ready to separate from his wife,” she said. “He knew that when it got to a point where he couldn’t care for his wife anymore, CVOF’s skilled nursing center was here on campus. He just loved and cared for her so much and it was a beautiful thing to witness. He could visit her every day.”

“One of the really special features for us is when we walk with residents through this transition as their health needs change,” Doug said. “Couples might be separated now because of differing health needs, but they may only be one or two minutes away from each other. They can continue to live rich and fulfilling lives together even though they no longer live in the same apartment.”

Kim, who has been with CVOF for 10 years, said she drives the process of moving in residents by helping them select an apartment, scheduling appointments, and coordinating their move.

Kim said she wishes more people would move into a retirement community when they are younger so they could fully appreciate all that it offers.

“What I found during my time at CVOF is that we are a nurturing community,” Doug said. “We provide opportunities for residents to engage in activities that create purpose and meaning. This plays a big role in creating the depth of joy that residents experience every day. People come here to live full and enriching lives and we’re honored to be part of their journey.”