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Robert McKeon, new culinary services manager Waltonwood Ashburn is pleased to announce Robert McKeon as its new culinary services manager. McKeon is a seasoned chef, bringing more than 30 years of culinary experience to his new role.

Waltonwood Ashburn (a premier senior living community) is pleased to announce Robert McKeon as its new culinary services manager. McKeon is a seasoned chef, bringing more than 30 years of culinary experience to his new role. He is a classically trained chef having worked in restaurants and hotels before making the move to senior living. He has spent the last 12 years in healthcare culinary where he ensures nutritiously balanced and healthy meals for residents. McKeon’s focus is the betterment of people’s lives. He sees this as an opportunity to cook with a passion and prepare dishes that inspire people to eat healthy while infusing flavors that elevate their taste buds. He loves creating community through food and using the freshest ingredients possible to produce unique dishes that help improve the quality of life for residents.

“Cooking is my passion and focusing on the senior population has been rewarding. I am able to take something I love and make a difference in the lives of seniors by providing nutritious meals,” said McKeon. “I started off working in the hospitality industry before taking a break to help run a family business, but I knew my heart was in the kitchen. Cooking for seniors is so important. There are many paradigms to food. It’s not just a meal for seniors, it is social, healing and so much more. My cooking style is for the active and healthy senior. Food that is low-fat and high protein but packed with flavor. My goal is to empower the culinary associates to make dining an experience for each resident.  We are a family in the kitchen, and I want residents to feel that. I’m excited to be at Waltonwood and provide high caliber foods for the residents to enjoy. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to do this for a living.”

Waltonwood Ashburn offers five-star dining in its main dining room, a café for residents and new outdoor patio seating for the summer months. McKeon will update the menus by season and run specials each month for residents, including the Four S’s (steak, seafood, sangria and strawberry shortcake) which will debut when dining reopens in August. McKeon says he was attracted to the job because it’s a family-owned company that has strong values and beliefs. He understands the industry and the importance of nutrient-dense meals that are tailored to residents’ needs. Executive Director Christopher Leinauer knows McKeon is the right person for the job.

“Robert brings years of experience in the food industry to this new role, and we couldn’t think of a better person to lead our culinary services team,” said Leinauer. “His approach to dining and serving fresh, local ingredients is exactly what we were looking for at the community. He has the residents’ best interests in mind, and I know the residents will not only enjoy his food but also enjoy his company.”

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Ashburn Grads being honored

Here is something to bring a smile to your face! Waltonwood Ashburn, a premier senior living community, showed its appreciation by hosting a graduation for its associates who recently completed high school, college and culinary school.

Waltonwood associates pinned flowers on each graduate and handed out graduation hats for them to wear. One photo shows all the graduates together holding the certificates the community made for each of them.

Executive Director Christopher Leinauer gave a speech, offering words of encouragement to the graduates and thanking them for their hard work during this difficult time. The graduates celebrated by tossing their hats into the air. They ended the day with individually packed sweets made by the culinary team at Waltonwood. The community wanted associates to know they are proud of them for their accomplishments.

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With in-person visits and events still restricted at senior living communities across the country, Waltonwood Ashburn, a premier senior living community, wanted to show the unique and creative ways it is keeping residents engaged. The culinary team recently started hosting “Amaze-Singh Eats,” a live cooking demonstration that independent and assisted living residents follow along to on GoToMeeting, a video conferencing tool. Since the dining rooms are closed, the food is delivered to residents and they are able to log onto the platform and cook the meal themselves in the comfort of their homes. The senior living community is always looking for ways to show its commitment to its residents, especially during a time of such uncertainty.

“Our dining services is one thing many residents are missing right now,” said Christopher Leinauer, executive director at Waltonwood Ashburn. “They enjoy getting together and socializing, but right now with social distancing they aren’t able to do that, so we created “Amaze-Singh Eats” as a way to keep residents engaged. We named it after our parent company, Singh Development Company. Residents are able to see other residents on GoToMeeting and cook a delicious meal to enjoy. We’ve held a few sessions so far and it has been a hit with residents. Each session is a different theme, and we are hoping to come up with new ideas throughout the summer. This is a fun way for us to say thank you to the residents as we get through this time together.”

The cooking demonstrations are held every other Wednesday. Residents can decide if they want to participate in the cooking or just log onto the platform to socialize with other residents and associates at the community. Socialization has many health benefits for older adults. Some of the benefits include:

  • Reduced stress
  • Increased longevity
  • Greater self-esteem
  • Less anxiety
  • Improved mood and quality of life

“We are always looking for new activities or programs that will redefine senior living,” said Leinauer. “This is our way of showing the entertaining things we are doing to keep residents involved and show others what it is like inside a senior living community. There is a misconception on food and events that take place at senior living communities, and we are here to show you the vibrant lifestyles our residents lead. We will come out of this time stronger than ever, but in the meantime, we’re going to have some fun keeping our distance and making delicious food.”

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Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, and while searching for love can be difficult for some, Doris and Charles Harris (both 81) didn’t have to look very far. The two met at a birthday party in 1956 when they were just 17 years old. They felt an instant connection, and the couple married less than a year later in July 1957. Doris wore a beautiful dress while Charles donned his Air Force uniform, and the couple said “I do” in front of family and friends. Fast forward 63 years, and the couple’s love is still going strong. Doris says her love for her husband is stronger now than ever before, and this Valentine’s Day, the couple will exchange gifts and celebrate their love together at Waltonwood Ashburn, a premier senior living community.

“Charles is the best man I know. He is a man of integrity who has loved me every day since I was 17 years old,” said Doris. “I knew it was love when he would wait at the end of my block in New York City so he could walk me home. Our love remains strong because we both have the same spiritual beliefs. It’s the foundation we set to support our marriage and family. We were able to experience many different countries and cultures during his time in the military. I know he can’t express it anymore, but I see it in his eyes when I visit him every day. The word love is a lot more than an emotion, and as long as I have breath in my body, I will be there for my husband no matter what.”

Doris and Charles have four children and lived around the world over the years, including in Germany, Taiwan and Virginia. He served in the Air Force for more than 20 years before attending bible school and answering the call to be a chaplain. He worked as a chaplain for two years at Rikers Island where he was known for decreasing inmate violence. He later served and pastored for 38 years at Morning Star Full Gospel Assembly in The Bronx, New York. Doris says Charles is an honest man who is full of wisdom, and she knows their love story is endless.

“Charles is my one true love, and our love is stronger today than it ever was,” said Doris. “We’ve lived a beautiful life, had four wonderful children and shared the word of the Lord with many people. We’ve accomplished a lot in almost 63 years, and I couldn’t imagine anyone else by my side. This Valentine’s Day is the first one in our new home, and I’m excited to celebrate with my wonderful husband and other residents in the community.”

“The bond between Doris and Charles is unbreakable. We love seeing them together in the community and know this will be a special Valentine’s Day,” said Kate Ritchie, life enrichment manager at Waltonwood Ashburn. “They are truly remarkable people, and their story reminds us that love never fails, which encourages all of us. We love listening to their love story, especially because it made them into the people we know today.”


Norma Waitman, a resident at Waltonwood Ashburn – a premier senior living community – discovered her passion about four years ago when she started knitting. Since then, the 87 year old has turned her hobby into a project that benefits others. Waitman knits hats for newborns and donates them to the birthing center at Inova Loudoun Hospital. Each hat takes about four hours to make, and she tries to make at least one a day. Waitman says knitting is therapeutic and relaxing for her. She also says it is rewarding knowing that the several hundred hats she’s made in the last four years have brought smiles to new parents and babies.

“I wanted something that would keep me busy in retirement, and when a group of ladies I knew started knitting I wanted to join,” said Waitman. “I had never knitted before, but I have grown to love it. It truly has become my hobby, and I look forward to making hats each day. I stick to just hats but make a variety of colors. I also like to have a theme for them. For February, I will make red hats for Valentine’s Day. I make red, white and blue hats for Fourth of July, and I usually select fall colors for the end of the year. I have a lot of fun making them and picking out the different colors. I have a friend who delivers the hats to the hospital, and I always get a thank-you note or photo from the delivery. It warms my heart to see the hats benefiting a precious child who just came into the world. I am thankful I found a hobby I love that also benefits others.”

Arts and crafts, including knitting, have many benefits for seniors. Some of the benefits include:

  • Keeping your brain active
  • Improving your hand-eye coordination
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Promoting social activities

“At Waltonwood Ashburn, we love to encourage personal growth and the pursuit of a purposeful life for residents,” said Christopher Leinauer, executive director at Waltonwood Ashburn. “We love to see the different hobbies residents have and just how passionate they are for their craft. Norma has dedicated so much time to knitting hats for newborns, and it is inspiring to see. What she has been able to do in four short years is incredible, and I know the hospitals and new parents are grateful for her support. She is dedicated to helping others, and we are honored she calls Waltonwood Ashburn home.”

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Waltonwood Ashburn, a premier senior living community, is pleased to announce that Chris Leinauer has been named executive director. Leinauer, born in Germany, was raised in Columbia, Maryland, and brings over 15 years of experience in senior living to his new role. Previously, he served as a director of operations, executive director, and most recently as a regional vice president responsible for 29 senior living properties across five regions. Leinauer’s extensive experience in the senior living industry has provided him with insight into the complexities of successfully leading a community. As the new executive director, he will play a significant role within Waltonwood Ashburn.


“I was only 16 years old when I was first exposed to the senior living industry,” said Leinauer. “While I was in high school, I was a dining room server for independent living at a community in Maryland. Although I spent a few years in different fields, including hospitality and finance, I knew senior living was the right path for me. I am excited to be part of the Waltonwood team, and I hope to make a difference in the lives of our residents and their families.”


Leinauer received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration at Frostburg State University. Previously, Leinauer served as an executive director for two different senior living communities. Leinauer is enthusiastic about being part of a company that is committed to improving the independence, health, safety, individuality and well-being of residents in every aspect. His prior experience in independent and assisted living communities provides the perfect foundation for his role at Waltonwood Ashburn.


“We are thrilled to have Chris on our team, and we know he is the best person to help us continue to provide outstanding service and an unmatched lifestyle and quality of care to seniors in the area,” said Randy LeMaster, regional director of operations at Waltonwood Communities/Singh Senior Living. “Chris has an impressive background, and we look forward to seeing the energy and ideas he brings to the team.”

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Waltonwood Ashburn, a premier senior living community, is pleased to announce Maria Cressida R. Manalo as its new resident care manager and Megan Mastre as memory care coordinator. Manalo, originally from Philippines, brings more than five years of experience in senior living to her new role. Previously, she served as a charge nurse, RN supervisor, and most recently as a director of nursing service. Mastre, who is originally from Pittsburg, has nearly 15 years of senior living experience. Both Mastre and Manalo have significant nursing experience to fill a couple of important roles at Waltonwood Ashburn.


“Growing up in the Philippines, I was raised by my grandparents who later helped me raise my daughter as well,” said Manalo. “I’ve always had a very close relationship with them, and they are one of the reasons why I chose senior living as my career path. Elderly people have so much knowledge to pass on, and I think we can learn something new from them every day. I enjoyed working in rehabs in the past, but now as a resident care manager, I am able to build strong long-term relationships with the assisted living and memory care residents. Waltonwood has a very good reputation when it comes to resident care, and I know it’s the right place for me to continue my career in senior living. The roles I’ve held previously prepared me to be resident care manager, and I am excited to become part of a team that treats residents and employees like family.”


After receiving a practical nursing degree and becoming a certified nursing assistant, Mastre knew she wanted to start her career in geriatrics. She has spent many years in both assisted living and memory care and has worked in hospitals, rehabs and senior living communities. Mastre moved to Virginia five years ago. In her most recent position, she served as the director of health and wellness, and she directly oversaw care of assisted living residents. After spending a few years in memory care, Mastre decided that’s where she wanted to continue to grow her career. In her new position at Waltonwood Ashburn, she will be managing all memory care units and will become the frontline person for the residents, the medical staff and memory care team members.


“I am thrilled to become part of the team at Waltonwood Ashburn,” said Mastre. “The senior living community provides top-notch care for its residents, and I am honored to be part of the family now. Working in memory care, there is only one thing that’s for certain – every day is a different experience. That’s one of the many reasons why I enjoy working in memory care and with seniors in general. My career in senior living is one of the best choices I’ve made.”

“We’re excited to welcome Megan and Maria to the Waltonwood Ashburn family,” said Randy LeMaster, regional director of operations at Waltonwood Communities/Singh Senior Living. “They each possess the passion, talent and experience to help us redefine retirement living and ensure that the residents enjoy excellent care and quality of life. They both play a vital role within the community, and we are thrilled to have them on board.” 

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Every love story has its own unique beginning. For the Platenbergs, it all started off as a friendship in the 1950s in England. Little did they know that 20 years later they would fall in love after reconnecting in Virginia. Ruth and Robert Platenberg, now residents of Waltonwood Ashburn, have been married for 45 years. During their marriage, they lived abroad in Taiwan and the UK before coming home and later retired. Their life was interesting and exciting, making new friends and traveling. Robert is a retired US Air Force officer who dedicated 30 years to serving the country. As a pilot, he still has the uncanny ability to point at the clouds and hear a plane before it comes into view. The couple was living a perfect life together, enjoying every moment of their retirement, but all that changed after Robert was diagnosed with dementia. Despite all the difficulties and changes that come with this disease, Ruth talks about her husband in such a sweet tone it can make anyone’s heart melt. When choosing a senior living community, it was important for Ruth to find a place that offered multiple levels of care. Ruth was thrilled to find a place like Waltonwood Ashburn where she can live independently and still visit her husband in his memory care apartment every day. Today, she shares their inspiring love story and secrets to a long and successful marriage. 

“Everything was so perfect; we were having the time of our lives,” said Ruth Platenberg. “At first, Bob started losing words and then recall. Dementia was the diagnosis. We continued life at home for a few more years until we realized we had to make major adjustments. By this time, he could no longer live without help and we needed to find a place for him separately. Looking back, it was hard to imagine things could change one’s life so completely and it was a challenge to accept. It is comforting to know he is getting the best care possible now. These are the times to accept things as they are and be happy and thankful for all the beautiful memories we share.”

During his time in Air Force, Robert held multiple positions, including base and vice wing commander of the largest air force base in England, which was a huge responsibility. He was admired always for his kind and understanding way. Ruth and Robert have always had a lot in common, which is one of the reasons Ruth believes they’ve had a such a successful and long-lasting marriage.

“I think it’s very important to have common bond with your spouse,” said Ruth. “Bob and I have had similar backgrounds and interests, and find our thoughts just run together. We always enjoyed the same things; our home, family, golf, ski holidays and most of all true love, respect, trust and supporting each other’s endeavors.”

Robert Platenberg likes to wear his favorite hat adorned with pins from all the air stations he served. If anyone wants to spark a conversation with him, they can ask about his hat, and he will give them a special story about each of the pins. One of the favorite things Ruth and Robert like to do together is walk through the garden at Waltonwood Ashburn and enjoy the company of his friends.

“Hearing Ruth and Bob share their stories always melts my heart,” said Kate Ritchie, life enrichment manager at Waltonwood Ashburn. “Ruth comes to visit her husband every day, and she always brings her dog Rosie because all of our memory care residents love to interact with her. Any time I speak to Bob, every story he shares includes Ruthie. Their love story is truly inspiring, and we look forward to providing the best possible care support for their entire family.”  

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In celebration of Read Across America Day, residents at Waltonwood Ashburn joined students from The Compass School in reading some of Dr. Seuss’s classics such as “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” Sponsored by the National Education Association, Read Across America Day encourages children to celebrate reading on Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Waltonwood Ashburn recently welcomed the children from The Compass School. During this special intergenerational activity, residents of the senior living community and the students spent time together reading some of their favorite Dr. Seuss books. The senior living community also donated books to the school to ensure these stories can be enjoyed by students for years to come. 

“Spending time with children is definitely a highlight for our residents. These intergenerational activities like Read Across America Day are so enriching and always bring so much joy to our residents and the children,” said Justin Roberts, executive director of Waltonwood Ashburn. “We are always looking for ways to give back to the local community and are thankful for our partnership with The Compass School. 

Intergenerational activities provide many benefits to the lives of seniors, including improving their physical and mental health. The children also value the connection with the older generation and truly benefit from the relationships with the seniors. Celebrating Read Across America Day is just one of many intergenerational activities Waltonwood Ashburn plans throughout the year.

“It is very rewarding to see the seniors and children interact with one another during our visits to Waltonwood Ashburn,” said Erin Price Warren, ambassador for The Compass School. “We are focused on creating an educational environment for our students that promotes curiosity and excitement, and events like Read Across America Day at Waltonwood Ashburn help us deliver on that mission.”

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Everyone knows that Santa Claus is the most popular guy during the month of December. Every year, families spend hours waiting in line to take photos with him at crowded malls, Christmas festivals and other locations. For many parents it is a time-consuming tradition they go through to put smiles on their children’s faces and sometimes create a Christmas card. However, this year, Waltonwood Ashburn, aboutique-style senior living community, was here to make the holiday easier and more fun. Recently, local families were invited to visit the senior living community to take photos with Santa Claus and enjoy a holiday atmosphere with the residents. This was a wonderful opportunity for the public to see this newly opened senior living community, meet the Waltonwood Ashburn team and share a moment of Christmas with the residents.

“We think the crowded malls and long lines take the holiday spirit away from the children’s interaction with Santa Claus,” said Justin Roberts, executive director of Waltonwood Ashburn. “We wanted to ensure that local families could enjoy this special moment with their children while experiencing the joy of holidays. This is an exciting time of the year, and we were happy to share it with others.”

The holiday season is a popular time for people of all ages, including seniors. It is time to give thanks, show appreciation and spread love. Waltonwood Ashburn ensures that residents enjoy this time of the year as they always have, and this event was part of their plan to bring holiday cheer to the community. During this special event, the Waltonwood Ashburn team was also available to answer questions about the senior living community. Waltonwood Ashburn is family owned and operated and provides a full continuum of care which enables seniors to age in place. Seniors can maintain their freedom, enrich their quality of life and enjoy the convenience of luxury. Giving seniors the lifestyle they deserve, the senior living community provides worry-free and maintenance-free living, giving residents the freedom to pursue their passions during retirement. This holiday event was yet another example of how Waltonwood Ashburn always looks for ways to be involved in the local community.

“It was truly a wonderful event, and we were happy to share the Christmas spirit with the local community,” said Roberts. “We wanted to make sure children could enjoy their moment with Santa Claus without their parents being stressed or tired from standing in long lines, and we thought inviting Santa Claus to our community was a perfect idea to make it easier and more fun for the families.”

Singh currently owns and operates 10 other Waltonwood Senior Living Communities in Michigan and North Carolina, and has several other communities in development and under construction in North Carolina and the Washington, D.C. metro area market.