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The Legacy Senior Communities is pleased to announce the appointment of Wesley Helms as director of corporate food and beverage. Melissa Orth, president and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities, made the announcement. Helms joins the Jewish not-for-profit organization with nearly two decades of experience in the dining industry through various roles including within the senior living industry. In his new role, Helms will provide residents across the organization with the kind of high-quality experience The Legacy Senior Communities is known for.


“Wesley’s experience in the restaurant industry is an incredible asset to our team, and we’re excited to see what his expertise in the kitchen will bring to those we serve,” said Orth. “When it comes to senior living, one of the most important aspects is meal services, and we’re always seeking new ways to cater to residents’ preferred tastes and desires. Today’s residents want modern restaurant-style dining, and we are dedicated to providing five-star services. We know that with Wesley’s experience we will be able to take hospitality across our organization to the next level, as his knowledge of the restaurant industry in the Greater Dallas area perfectly meets the needs of those we serve.”


“I’m honored by the opportunity to take on this role and provide residents at our communities with memorable and delectable dining options,” said Helms. “My experience in the restaurant industry enables me to pursue my passion for good food and hospitality, and now with The Legacy Senior Communities I have the opportunity to take that one step further. Today’s seniors are coming to us looking for hospitality-centered meal services, and I’m excited by the team we’ve put together to provide that.”


The Legacy Senior Communities has long held a philosophy that caters to each resident by getting to know what they want from a meal. Such attention to diners’ tastes has greatly influenced the team and how they create meals that provide a delightful experience while infusing fresh and nutritious ingredients. The kitchen is well-known among residents for combining fresh fruits and vegetables with hearty meats that, when paired correctly, offer quality flavors with a nutritious twist. Helms and his team are dedicated to providing the perfect balance. The culinary team, led by the community’s executive chef Roberto Madrid, designs its menus to cater to all palates, allowing for residents to make the final decision.


In addition, one of the most important aspects of dining at The Legacy Willow Bend is the community’s commitment to the Jewish faith. As a Jewish-sponsored community, The Legacy Willow Bend believes in the importance of observing Jewish traditions, and that includes traditional meals. For this, the community has an entirely separate kitchen for kosher meal preparation. After all, food is a reminder of who we are and where we come from, and the dining team believes in highlighting tradition.


“We believe in providing our residents with variety in their food choices,” said Helms. “With Chef Madrid’s knowledge and expertise, we’re looking at new ways to promote healthy habits and create new experiences. Our job is to go above and beyond in our offerings, and we’re not going to limit ourselves when it comes to delicious and memorable dining experiences. In the end, we’re not focused on any sort of industry standard but The Legacy Senior Communities’ standard and meeting our own high expectations every day.”


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The Legacy Senior Communities is pleased to announce the appointment of Rabbi Michael Cohen as director of rabbinical services and programs. Melissa Orth, president and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities, made the announcement. Cohen’s appointment comes as the Jewish not-for-profit organization seeks to provide a religious and spiritual resource for residents, families, caregivers, staff, and volunteers across the organization, as well as strengthen ties with the Greater Dallas Jewish community as a connecter to the clergy in the Jewish community. Cohen joins The Legacy Senior Communities with over a decade of rabbinical experience providing for a variety of spiritual needs, and for people of all faiths.

“Rabbi Cohen is an extraordinary asset to our team, and we’re looking forward to having him as a resource for those we serve,” said Orth. “As a Jewish-sponsored organization, it gives us great pride to have a spiritual leader on our team to help guide us as we seek to serve Jewish seniors and their families. At all stages of life, having a religious or spiritual leader is an integral component of one’s faith, and in many ways that need strengthens as we age. By having a rabbi on our team, we can reach those we serve in an entirely new and meaningful way. We look forward to working with Rabbi Cohen and are excited to see the positive impact he will have on our entire organization.”

“I’m honored to take on this role and the responsibility of meeting the religious and spiritual needs of residents, families, caregivers, staff, and volunteers at The Legacy Senior Communities,” said Cohen. “For the organization to provide this type of care for those it serves is highly meaningful and plays an important role in the Dallas Jewish senior community. Religious practice, teaching and tradition, along with spiritual care enhance our sense of community and provide for important aspects of life that are vital for seniors. It’s incredibly important for those who come to any of The Legacy Senior Communities’ entities that religious and spiritual services are provided. Creating this position within the community is a further extension of the services The Legacy Senior Communities already offers for residents’ needs. It’s an exciting time for me, and I look forward to getting to know the residents and learn their stories. Rabbinic and pastoral care experience is equally meaningful and enriching to me in my own spiritual journey, as I seek to make that so for those whom I’m able to serve. I’m delighted to be starting.”

According to Cohen, his path to becoming a rabbi is a bit untraditional, as he is a second-career rabbi after formerly practicing family law. After attending the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Newton, Mass., Cohen has since been certified as an educator of Clinical Pastoral Education, training chaplains for spiritual care in a variety of environments. Cohen enjoys building strong relationships, facilitating transformative growth for individuals and families, and cares about supporting institutional mission. While Cohen’s expertise draws deeply from his Jewish faith, his knowledge, training and experience with patients and caregivers of all religions allows him also to connect with those of other faiths to provide the religious and spiritual support needed by seniors and their families.

From the beginning, he has held a deep passion to care for seniors and was influenced by his own grandmother and the deep relationship formed with her through faith at the end of her life. While attending rabbinical school, he interned at several senior care communities, providing religious and spiritual needs for residents, their families and staff. It’s this deep compassion for seniors that has influenced Cohen throughout his career and which ultimately led him to The Legacy Senior Communities.

“Having the opportunity to build relationships with the residents and meet them where they may truly need me is what I most value,” said Cohen. “One beautiful thing about faith of any kind is that it’s unique to each person. We human beings all seek to find someone else who can relate to us and what we hold most dear. When it comes to providing spiritual care for seniors, there’s an understanding that sometimes we come across emotions and life events that have been locked away for a very long time. This aspect of the work has to be done both gently and with courage. It’s a huge commitment for The Legacy Senior Communities to provide this dimension of care to those it serves, and I’m very much honored to be a part of it.”

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The next 65 years for The Legacy Senior Communities will enhance upon the needs of today’s seniors as the industry continues to evolve. With that in mind, the not-for-profit charitable organization recently hosted a Dallas community-wide “visioning day” to begin picturing the future of the organization and determining how The Legacy Senior Communities aspires to address the needs of Dallas-area Jewish seniors and their families in the next five years. During the event, Legacy Senior Communities employees, board members and residents, along with their families, supporters, partner organizations and interested parties met to discuss the issues facing the community. After breaking into small groups, those in attendance took the topics discussed and crafted statements which they felt reflect how The Legacy Senior Communities should look as an organization. Each group then presented their statement at the closing session, with the draft statements serving as the foundation for a vision statement for The Legacy Senior Communities’ direction over the next five years. The endeavor brought together integral members of The Legacy Senior Communities family to ensure that as the organization looks toward the future of serving Greater Dallas Jewish seniors and their families, the past traditions and values of the organization are continued.

“Hosting a community-wide visioning day is a first for our organization,” said Melissa Orth, president and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities. “As we plan for our future, it is important to ensure we’re doing all that we can to continue providing quality Jewish senior programming and services. In hosting this event, we brought our entire organization and partners together to set the tone for where we want to go and how we can achieve our goals. We know that the wants and needs of today’s seniors and their loved ones are continuing to evolve, and we want to be prepared to meet those changing needs. Additionally, we understand the importance of reflecting and building on our past to carry with us the values that are the foundation of everything we do.”

The Legacy Senior Communities is dedicated to ensuring the organization is equipped to meet today’s baby boomers head on as they enter the senior living market. By expanding its services with the addition of hospice care and a new state-of-the-art community, The Legacy Midtown Park, the organization has already begun taking steps in anticipation of the increased demand and desires expected in modern senior living.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to come together as an organization and remember our past while looking ahead,” said Jerry Rasansky, chair of the board of trustees for The Legacy Senior Communities. “The day brought forward a number of perspectives as we worked to prepare for our future as an organization. We’ve long been known in the Jewish community for innovative care, and by coming together in this way, we’ve positioned ourselves to continue providing high-quality care for years to come.”

Visioning day was organized by Orth and vice president of The Legacy Senior Communities board Sharon Levin, who served as a task force co-chair for the meeting with the assistance of organizational development consultant Christina Drouin. According to Levin, the idea was to allow everyone to have a voice in where the organization goes in the next half-decade and to show that The Legacy Senior Communities is dedicated to evolving with the senior living industry as it continues to change.

“Today’s seniors want options and want to see that organizations like ours are evolving and adapting to fit their needs,” said Levin. “Our aim through visioning day was to better position ourselves to serve seniors now and in the future. In the past year alone, we’ve had big changes and expanded the services we provide in our organization, and we want to ensure that each one of those opportunities continues to lead to high-quality service for Jewish seniors and their families. As we move forward with construction on The Legacy Midtown Park and begin offering hospice services through The Legacy at Home, it’s more important than ever that we take the stability we have as an organization and apply it to our future plans.”  

Having the opportunity to be a part of such an event was an honor for former board chair and current resident of The Legacy Willow Bend, Buddy Rosenthal. Visioning day allowed Rosenthal and others who have had a lifelong commitment and tie to the organization to leave further imprints on the direction of The Legacy Senior Communities.

“About a year ago, we came together to discuss the most important issues facing us as an organization, and visioning day was one of the ways we devised to ensure we are prepared for all that lies ahead,” said Rosenthal. “I’ve been involved in The Legacy Senior Communities in various capacities for over 40 years, but I never would have imagined needing to utilize the services provided by the organization. It’s with this in mind that we want to be prepared to meet those who don’t know what services they will need and when they will need them. With our forethought, we’ve set a precedent for where we want to be and the path we want to follow, and I’m looking forward to seeing our goals unfold over the next few years.”

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At The Legacy Willow Bend staying up to date with the latest advancements in technology is one of the community’s tenents of high quality service. Innovation is behind every decision made by the community, however innovation doesn’t come without ensuring that everyone is equipped to utilize the latest technologies.  It’s for this reason Maggie Armstrong – a resident of The Legacy Willow Bend – is busy working with The Legacy Willow Bend’s lifestyle and member assistance coordinator, Lisa Harris, to ensure her fellow residents are able to fully utilize the senior living community’s new resident communication portal called Ripple. The system allows The Legacy Willow Bend team to communicate with residents electronically, providing information about events, dining, programs, activities and even resident profiles. Such a system enables users to put information all in one place and make it easily accessible. However, while many of the community’s residents are tech savvy, there are those who still need assistance. Because of this, Armstrong volunteers her time to help Harris by making  house calls to sit down one on one with other residents to make sure their accounts are set up correctly and that they are comfortable using the communication portal.

“Prior to implementing Ripple, everything was on paper and everyone had to keep track of anything important on their own,” said Armstrong. “With this system, we can all communicate directly with one another and the team here at the community. When we first started using Ripple, I knew there would be a need to help those who don’t use computers regularly. I spend a good deal of time using a computer in some capacity and know it can provide a sense of connection to the world. Helping make sure that everyone is able to use Ripple and even start utilizing other aspects of the internet feels like the least I can do.”

In addition to making house calls, Armstrong is also meeting with residents in the community’s library. This is beneficial for those who don’t regularly use a computer, or for those who don’t own one at all. For Harris, the communication portal enables her to share the latest happenings at the community with residents and team members, all while making sure they can connect with one another whenever needed.

“We’re thrilled with the incredibly enthusiastic responses we’ve received from everyone,” said Harris. “Everyone enjoys finding new ways to use the system and make life at The Legacy Willow Bend easier. We’re proud to say that we’re one of 13 communities across the country using the Ripple system, and we are pleased to be the only community in Dallas to offer such an advancement for our residents.”

According to Armstrong and Harris, with the program now in place, residents have eagerly been utilizing Ripple and during social events there is discussion amongst residents about how they are using Ripple and answering one another’s questions. For residents like Karen Kurzman, the portal has provided an opportunity to organize her life and take full advantage of all that The Legacy Willow Bend has to offer.

“The Ripple portal is incredibly convenient and allows the user to keep all the information they need at their fingertips,” said Kurzman. “Personally, I love how it eliminates the need for paper and that I can connect important reminders and updates with my phone. I have access to everything I need whenever I need it, and can easily get ahold of anyone on staff with the touch of a button. It’s wonderful to have access to such technology and to know that The Legacy is always working to ensure we are keeping up with the latest in technological trends.”

“At The Legacy Willow Bend, we’re dedicated to ensuring that our residents are equipped to live life to the fullest each day,” said Laura Levy, executive director of The Legacy Willow Bend. “With the implementation of Ripple, we’re able to offer our residents a way to communicate with one another, make their daily schedules easier to navigate, and provide them with the latest technology. Our world today is continuing to move further in a digital direction, and we want to do everything we can to ensure our residents are equipped to meet the latest changes in technology head on. We’re privileged to have individuals like Maggie Armstrong who are willing to make sure that everyone is able to use Ripple and any other technologies that come along.”

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Melissa Orth, president and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities, is pleased to announce the expansion of its services through The Legacy at Home with the addition of hospice services. The Legacy at Home is one of the largest not-for-profit home health providers in Greater Dallas. The Jewish-sponsored agency offers comprehensive Medicare-certified home health care, personal assistance with daily living, and hospice services with the same level of distinction and professionalism that has defined its parent organization, The Legacy Senior Communities, for 65 years.

“With the addition of hospice services, we can now deliver the full continuum of care for the Dallas community. Our retirement communities and home health agency offer all levels of care and anything a senior would need,” said Orth. “Each person’s end-of-life journey is unique, and hospice services will offer seniors and their families compassionate care when they need it most. We are privileged to meet with families to provide comfort and peace so they can focus on time together and honor the wishes of loved ones.”

“We’re proud to offer the first Jewish-sponsored hospice program in Dallas,” said Dot Haymann, chair of the board for The Legacy at Home. “Our customized hospice services will reduce pain and anxiety through symptom management, provide emotional support for the entire family, advocate for last wishes, and give those we care for more quality days. With an accomplished team of caring professionals, we bring decades of experience and a wealth of resources to provide high-quality, patient- and family-centered hospice care wherever the patient calls home.”

“We believe in a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes,” said Jessica Haecker, executive director of The Legacy at Home. “Even if it is just a shoulder to lean on or a hand to hold, we seek to support and care for patients and families during their hospice journey.”

The Legacy Senior Communities is a Jewish-sponsored organization deeply committed to its heritage and honoring Jewish traditions. The organization is accredited by the National Institute for Jewish Hospice, which ensures that staff and volunteers are trained in the full spectrum of Jewish traditions, beliefs and customs associated with death and mourning. However, The Legacy at Home provides all faiths with exceptional services that honor all spiritual beliefs.

“We provide quality care tailored to each patient and their family in order to respect the needs, desires, traditions and faiths of all those we serve,” said Elise Power, Jewish community liaison for The Legacy at Home Hospice. “It’s an honor and a privilege to care for those at the end of life’s journey and to help families accept the loss of their loved ones.” 

“In my experience, patients and families often feel overwhelmed after receiving a terminal prognosis,” said Susan Veasey, director of Hospice Service for The Legacy at Home. “Families often come to us uncertain of what lies ahead, and during our initial conversation we have the opportunity to create a space where difficult conversations can occur and fears can be relieved through the decision to choose quality days. Often, you can feel the tension break in the room when a patient and their family is at peace with the decision to choose hospice. For most, that moment occurs when they realize they don’t have to go through this alone, as our compassionate team of experts will be walking alongside them. That’s why I do what I do – because I believe hospice means a greater quality of life.”

The Legacy at Home hospice is dedicated to those it serves. With every relationship, families can expect the same level of expert and compassionate care that has defined The Legacy Senior Communities since 1953. Services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance plans with a hospice benefit, or private pay. For more information about our hospice, home health, personal assistance services or to schedule an appointment, please call 972.244.7700 or visit   

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The Legacy Senior Communities believes in the importance of celebrating shared traditions that create a bond across generations. It’s for this reason that the not-for-profit community recently gathered together to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover with its residents, their families and staff. Each year, the observance is a deeply meaningful experience for the entire community to come together, and this year was no exception. The Legacy Willow Bend, Plano’s first and only life care retirement community, held Seders in independent living, assisted living and memory care. Additionally, The Legacy at Home, The Legacy Senior Communities’ not-for-profit home health care agency, delivered macaroons with a heartfelt Passover message to their Jewish clients in observance of the holiday.

For those like Monty Strauss, a resident of The Legacy Willow Bend, participating in this year’s Passover felt like coming home. Strauss and his wife, Jane Weiner, moved to the community at the end of 2018 and have enjoyed the connection among Jewish residents at The Legacy Willow Bend. According to Strauss, when looking for a place to live, the couple knew they wanted a home where Judaism was prevalent and where they could fully experience their faith. Since moving from Lubbock, Texas shortly before Hannukah, the couple has been able to celebrate various observances surrounded by other Jewish couples and friends, and they have enjoyed every minute of it.

“Having the opportunity to experience Passover here at The Legacy was a wonderful experience,” said Strauss. “Our faith is the foundation of who we are, and being able to share and observe occasions like this surrounded by other members of the Jewish faith in such a natural way has been incredibly meaningful. While observing Passover, it was funny to reflect on the simplest of things, like how difficult it was to get matzah in Lubbock. However, here at The Legacy we had access when we needed it. Being in a community of people who worship in the same way is special and is a reminder that Judaism is more than a faith, it’s a community.”

Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor, led the Seder for independent living residents and their families. The independent living dining room was filled to capacity, with Rabbi Leynor and participants reading responsively the historical account of the Israelites’ flight from Egypt and the celebration of their escape from bondage. Lita Marishak led the Seder for residents in memory support with assistance from Susan Ginsburg of Adat Chaverim, while Eli Davidson led those in assisted living.

“Anytime we have the opportunity to gather together as a community is incredibly meaningful,” said Paul Michaels, chair of the board for The Legacy Willow Bend. “Celebrating Passover is a deeply moving experience, and we value the moments when we can express gratitude for the blessings we share. Commemorating our Jewish traditions is what truly sets our community apart, and it’s an honor to participate in these shared celebrations.”

During each of the Seders, participants commemorated the ancient story of the Israelites’ deliverance from slavery and captivity in Egypt with the traditional prayers and songs. A traditional Seder plate displayed symbolic food items that correspond with elements of the story of the exodus from Egypt.

“At The Legacy Senior Communities, we believe in the importance of honoring all Jewish holidays and the shared traditions that define who we are as an organization,” said Melissa Orth, president and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities. “As always, it was deeply moving to see those we serve and their loved ones – including our non-Jewish residents – participate in a timeless tradition that’s been shared for generations and celebrate the past as we move towards the future.”

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It’s difficult for many people to imagine the scale of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, as they are far removed from life today. However, for Holocaust survivors and their loved ones, the memories of the past are often far too close. It’s because of the horrors of the past that it’s more important than ever to ensure those horrible acts are never forgotten and never repeated. Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, is observed each year in honor of the approximately 6 million Jews who perished as a result of the actions of Nazi Germany during World War II. In anticipation of Yom HaShoah, the residents and team members of The Legacy Willow Bend will pause in remembrance of those lost during a special ceremony to dedicate the senior living community’s daffodil garden on Sunday, April 28 at 1:15 p.m. Local Troop 380 Eagle Scout Seth Dauber planted the garden as a gift to the community for his project to earn his rank as an Eagle Scout.

“As a Jewish-sponsored community, we understand the importance of sharing meaningful observances like Yom HaShoah with our residents,” said Laura Levy, executive director of The Legacy Willow Bend. “A few of our residents are survivors or have family who were impacted, and we believe it’s important for all of us to remember those who were lost and those who survived so we never forget what happened. Seeing young people like Seth Dauber who are doing their part to learn from the past and carry forth a legacy of kindness and hope reminds all of us there is good in the world and that the atrocities of the past will not become a part of our future.”

Dauber began the nearly two-year process of planning and executing the creation of the garden, which included preparing the beds and the bulbs with the help of The Legacy Willow Bend maintenance team. He decided to contribute to The Daffodil Project, a national program to build a Living Holocaust Memorial by planting 1.5 million daffodils around the world to commemorate the 1.5 million children who were senselessly murdered in Nazi-occupied Europe. The project was immensely meaningful for Dauber, who is Jewish and was driven to do something special for the Jewish community.

“When I started working on my project, I knew that I wanted it to be meaningful for the Jewish community and honor those impacted by the Holocaust,” said Dauber. “It’s important for those of my generation to learn more about our history and to understand it so the past is not repeated. I’m excited to see the project completed and happy to see the number of flowers that bloomed this spring. It was a big endeavor, and seeing the outcome is rewarding.”

The community will gather together for the special ceremony to dedicate the garden and to recognize Dauber for selecting The Legacy Willow Bend as the location to implement this meaningful and lasting project. Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor will lead the ceremony and commemorate the event and family members of survivors will share stories. Rivka Altman will be one of those individuals, sharing the story of her grandfather, Mike Jacobs, who survived the Holocaust and went on to play an instrumental role in founding the Dallas Holocaust Museum. The ceremony will highlight the importance of remembering and what it means to have a living memorial and never forgetting.

“It was an honor for our community to be selected and join in making the garden a reality,” said Rivae Campo, volunteer coordinator for The Legacy Senior Communities and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. “We enjoyed having Seth on campus as he prepared the garden and are humbled by his dedication to ensuring the memory of those affected by the Holocaust. We hope that by commemorating the garden and sharing the impact Seth has had on our community, others will be inspired to think of ways to better their communities and our world.”

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When it comes to making an impact on those around them, the residents of The Legacy Willow Bend, Plano’s only life care retirement community, regularly seek new opportunities to create change and help others. Recently, the residents have focused their efforts on going green. The entire senior living community is participating in recycling and other environmentally friendly activities to make Plano a more beautiful place. From staff members to residents, the senior living community is coming together with a common purpose to positively impact the environment with its “green initiative.” Recycling efforts are well underway after residents attended an informational program hosted by the City of Plano Commercial Recycling Division. The educational session taught residents ways they can recycle in their apartments and take the first steps to making The Legacy Willow Bend more environmentally conscious.

“Our number one step as a group was to educate the residents and get them on board,” said Maggie Armstrong, resident chair of the green initiative committee. “We knew that residents would be the frontline and the ones who would actually get this started. To kick things off, we had a representative from the City of Plano come and explain what can and can’t be recycled and explain what this would look like. The importance for all of us rests on our ability to leave a cleaner footprint on the world and bring everyone together for a common purpose. Our recycling efforts have been going well, and we’ve received positive feedback so far. Everyone has really gotten on board, and that’s what makes this possible.”

With the initiative moving forward, the committee’s next phase involves taking residents and team members on a tour of Plano’s new recycling facility. The tour will help residents get a better understanding of how they can improve their recycling efforts. In addition, the community is slowly integrating other efforts to leave a greener footprint. Styrofoam containers used for to-go meals and by staff members in their break areas will no longer be provided. Staff members are encouraged to bring reusable beverage containers, and the dining team is moving toward paper products for to-go containers. The entire community has also been tasked with thinking of ways they can conserve electricity and water when not in use. All efforts are viewed as opportunities to work together as a community and create a better world for future generations to enjoy.

“It’s incredibly encouraging to see how The Legacy Willow Bend is working to become an environmentally sustainable community,” said Kim Flynn, commercial recycling coordinator for the City of Plano. “It begins with little steps, and The Legacy Willow Bend has done that beautifully by embracing recycling and demonstrating how easy recycling can be.”  

“At The Legacy Willow Bend, we understand the power behind even the simplest efforts to make our world a more beautiful place,” said Laura Levy, executive director of The Legacy Willow Bend. “We’ve encouraged our residents and team members to work together and do their part to make our green initiative a success, and we’re proud to see how everyone has taken to the task. It’s exciting to see how our community is learning to pursue more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles, and we hope others are encouraged to try their hand at going green.”


When it comes to the ultimate dining experience, consumers today are looking for the next best meal where the food is not only good to eat but Instagram approved. It might come as a surprise to find Plano’s best-kept dining secret is at The Legacy Willow Bend, Plano’s only life care retirement community, where the dining team has fostered an overall experience by catering to residents’ preferred tastes and desires. Since the senior living community opened its doors 10 years ago, dining services has provided modern restaurant-style dining that only recently has found its way into the rest of the senior living industry. While it might seem standard to offer such services, The Legacy Willow Bend takes accommodation to the next level, knowing that residents are used to five-star dining and expect high-quality service. In addition, the dining staff works to meet requests from residents, even going so far as a trip to the local grocery store for ingredients. Such accommodations are rare, even in comparison to the restaurant industry where substitutions are seen as an annoyance. According to Mark Brown, director of dining services at The Legacy Willow Bend, this attention to residents’ dietary preferences is only the beginning of the community’s philosophy and much goes into ensuring each resident’s needs are met.

“From the very beginning, our philosophy has been to cater to our resident’s individually by getting to know what they want from their dining experience,” said Brown. “We make it a priority to customize our offerings for each resident by creating memorable and delectable dining options. Personal requests are always answered, and we work to give those requests recognition. For instance, a resident came in regularly and asked for a custom salad during lunch. Other residents started requesting the same salad, so we made it a permanent staple on the menu and named it after the resident who created it. The residents make the rules when it comes to our kitchen.”

Such attention to diners’ tastes has greatly influenced the dining team and how they create meals that provide a delightful experience while infusing fresh and nutritious ingredients. The kitchen is well-known among residents for combining fresh fruits and vegetables with hearty meats that, when paired correctly, offer quality flavors with a nutritious twist. Brown and his team focus on the perfect balance. The dining team, led by the community’s new executive chef Roberto Madrid, designs its menus to cater to all palates, allowing for residents to make the final decision.

With an extensive background in the restaurant and hospitality industries, Madrid has the experience and understanding of what’s required to assure that The Legacy Willow Bend’s high expectations for fine dining is maintained. Madrid’s experience has varied throughout his career, having learned about the quality demanded in hospitality-centered dining at Westin Kierland Resort and Villas, as well as the speed required in the restaurant industry as executive chef of the Sumo Maya in Scottsdale. Additionally, he brings with him extensive knowledge about dining services in North Texas after overseeing operations for Big Beat Dallas and from running his own business, Culinart LLC. At The Legacy Willow Bend, food is more than something to be had, it is an experience, and Madrid’s background will allow him to continue to meet this expectation.

“If our residents request a vegan meal, we’re going to make that happen,” said Brown, “We believe in providing variety that allows everyone choice and promotes healthy habits. One side of our menu changes daily, while the other changes quarterly. We accommodate off-the-menu requests as well. We believe it’s all about being open to what the resident wants and making the overall dining experience special.” 

One of the most important aspects of dining at The Legacy Willow Bend focuses on the community’s commitment to the Jewish faith. As a Jewish-sponsored community, The Legacy Willow Bend believes the importance of observing Jewish traditions, and that includes traditional meals. In addition, the community also provides kosher dining, with an entirely separate kitchen for kosher meal prep. Food is a reminder of who we are and where we come from, and the dining team believes in highlighting tradition. Emphasis is also placed on the importance of family and community, with weekly Sunday brunch provided for residents and their loved ones to gather and enjoy a buffet of delicious offerings. The menu also features fresh breads and desserts made daily by the community’s in-house bakery and pastry chef. Residents also have the ability to book the private dining room where they can host family meals for any occasion, with various options available for catering the event. Whether it’s family-style dining or a four-course meal, the dining team will meet each resident’s wishes.

“Food provides a sense of comfort and familiarity associated with memories of the people we love and where we’ve been,” said Laura Levy, executive director of The Legacy Willow Bend. “We want residents to know this is their home, and they can have those types of experiences whenever they want. We do not have many limitations here at The Legacy Willow Bend, our job is to go above and beyond to ensure our residents have a meal that leaves them satisfied. Our staff is trained with hospitality in mind and believes in delivering excellence and superior service every day.”

“At The Legacy Senior Communities, we strive for excellence in all areas of care and service, and the dining program at The Legacy Willow Bend is a prime example of that philosophy,” said Melissa Orth, president and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities. “When looking at dining, we don’t hold ourselves to the industry standard, we hold ourselves to our own high standards to match the expectations of those we serve. The kitchen is often the heart of a household, and we’re proud to offer residents delicious dining that inspires personal connections and conversations each day. We will certainly infuse this same focus and standard for excellence in dining at our new community under development, The Legacy Midtown Park.”


Residents, their families and team members at The Legacy Willow Bend     (a life care retirement community in Plano) recently gathered together in observance of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In addition, The Legacy at Home delivered traditional honey cakes to its Jewish home health care clients as a way to wish them a sweet new year. The Legacy Senior Communities is the not-for-profit parent company of both organizations. As one of the holiest days in Judaism, Rosh Hashanah begins the Days of Awe, a 10-day period when Jewish people reflect on the previous year by repenting for any sins they committed.




"Rosh Hashanah is a time for us to come together each year as a community to reflect on the previous year and anticipate the beginning of a new year ahead," said Laura Levy, executive director of The Legacy Willow Bend. "We are thankful for the opportunity to share this special occasion with our residents and their families as we celebrate the hope of new beginnings."




In observance of the holiday, The Legacy Willow Bend hosted morning services for residents and their families led by Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor in independent living and Eli Davidson in assisted living and memory care. During the service, they heard the sounding of the shofar the ram's horn as the call to repentance. Immediately following, those in attendance participated in Taslich. They tossed breadcrumbs into the outdoor water fountain, symbolizing a release from their sins of the past. Residents and their guests also enjoyed apples dipped in honey to symbolize a sweet year ahead.




"Whether it's with our residents at The Legacy Willow Bend or our clients at The Legacy at Home, I find it rewarding to come together and celebrate our Jewish holidays and traditions," said Elise Power, Jewish community liaison for The Legacy at Home. "By bringing the Greater Dallas Jewish community in to observe the holidays with us, we all experienced a sense of heartfelt fulfillment and joy."




"At The Legacy Senior Communities, we treasure our longstanding tradition of observing Jewish holidays together as a community," said Melissa Orth, CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities. "We are honored to come together alongside those we serve to commemorate Rosh Hashanah through religious services and home visits. Rosh Hashanah is a time best spent together with family and friends as we reflect on the past year, and we were thrilled to share this experience across our organization."