Caledonia Senior Living Red Doors

Today, is a good day at Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care.  It’s rainy, windy and the sun is nowhere in sight but our newly painted red front doors are a beacon in our forest.

I’ve been thinking about why it felt so good to paint our front doors red this week – something that surprised residents, staff and guests.

20 months ago we locked our front doors for the first time in our history. We thought it would be just for a few weeks. But those weeks have turned into months, with experiences we never would have imagined. Days when our hearts broke having to ask residents to shelter in place; nights when we worried about staff commuting to work during curfews and unrest.  And then brighter days like Dino’s smile lighting up the room at our very first vaccine clinic; the day we knew Liz, our only resident that got COVID-19, was going to be ok; and our annual picnic, which felt like a little piece of “normal,” watching families and residents reconnect on our grounds as they have for over 100 years.

While we aren’t quite ready to throw the front doors wide open again, painting our front doors a vibrant, happy and welcoming red feels like the next best thing. It’s us saying we are here, we are ok, we have joy on our campus, we have love in our hearts and we welcome you to Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care.

We are a community where everyone is welcome. We invite everyone to be “Scottish by inclination” and join our Chicago Scots community of residents, staff, donors and members with a free membership in honor of our 175th year.

Before we painted our front doors red we did a little research about the symbolism of red doors what we learned quickly reinforced our decision!

1). All are welcome.

An early American tradition – painting a front door red signified to tired and distressed travelers that a house was a welcoming place to stay.  It echoes the sentiment of our original mission from 1845 to “relieve the distressed.

2). Protection.

After we locked our doors in 2020, our incredible team protected each other and the residents of Caledonia Senior Living.  We came together and committed to keep everyone safe. During this time we often felt that the Scottish Home was protecting us. And on the day that we began our first round of COVID-19 testing, the Saltire – (Scottish Flag) appeared magically in the sky above the Scottish Home, adding to our feeling of protection. Red doors historically have been a symbol of the protection of God or a higher power in many religions.

3). Financial Strength.

In Scotland, a red door means your mortgage is paid off. In 2019, our Board made the bold decision to pay off all our debt. The Chicago Scots proudly own the Scottish Home and the MacLean House at Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care. In fact, where many communities take on debt to reinvest in their campuses, we are committed to improving ours through the support of generous donors.

4). Love and Remembrance.

It is serendipitous that the color red that best suited our front door was Benjamin Moore Poppy Red (link to BM Poppy on their website) during this time of remembrance. Today, America celebrates Veterans Day and on Sunday, the UK and Commonwealth celebrate Remembrance Day. All over the UK people wear poppies in honor of those who gave their lives. The Flanders Poppy is a symbol of both Remembrance and hope for peace. We are proud to paint our doors poppy red in honor of our veteran residents, to all those who have served in America and in the UK and in memory of beloved family members who gave their lives for our freedom.

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