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A Perfectly Unexpected Path

How a son's love for his father builds a community

Article by Christy White

Photography by Christy White Photography

Originally published in Pearland Lifestyle

The moment you enter Watercrest at Shadow Creek Ranch, it feels like coming home. Warm smiles and the smell of a homemade meal wraps around you. Venturing a little further, you notice a well-stocked library, lists of interesting activity choices, as well as a business center with computers and comfortable sitting areas to meet with friends. Not to mention a dining room with a gorgeous chandelier and huge fireplace overlooking a beautiful courtyard and fountain! The amazing part is that this is all within 100 feet of the entrance. Tucked away throughout the complex are also an indoor heated swimming pool, games rooms, a salon, and fitness areas! 

The executive director setting the tone for this resort-like senior living community is Desmond Hendricks. When meeting Mr. Hendricks, one quickly realizes that his heart for the residents at Watercrest is as big as the community! Interestingly, Mr. Hendricks has not always been in this industry. His career began in a completely unrelated field, however, life sometimes leads you down an unexpected path that you discover you were meant to follow. Discovering his path when faced with finding a residential facility for his father who had been diagnosed with dementia. Desmond quickly discovered that senior residences could typically be categorized in one of two ways – apartment style with little to no amenities or all-inclusive. Options for seniors who needed or desired something in the middle were lacking. 

With his mother’s help, Desmond advocated and cared for his father and was with him as he received care. Through his father’s journey, Desmond discovered that he wanted to use this experience to help other seniors. He made the decision to change careers so he could follow this path that he felt God was leading him down. 

Having no experience in this area, Desmond decided to take an Assisted Living Manager Course to learn the business side of the industry. After his father passed, Desmond began looking for residential options once more, this time for his mother. After his struggle to find a perfect option to meet his father’s needs, Desmond and his mother discovered Watercrest in Katy and found it to be a perfect fit. His mother has now happily resided there for over five years. Interestingly enough Watercrest ended up not only being a perfect fit for his mother, but for Desmond as well. He was hired as assistant manager of the community. Eventually, he advanced to the executive director position at Watercrest at Shadow Creek Ranch where he has built not just a community but a family. 

As we walked around the complex, the feeling of belonging and community was overwhelming. On several instances, Mr. Hendricks stopped to chat with residents as we toured. At times it was a quick conversation about how a resident’s week was going, others a conversation about all the additions to the community garden as well as what would be added next. Sprinkled throughout the visits were good natured jokes and comments that tend to be a part of conversations between friends and family. 

When asked about his approach to creating this sense of community, Mr. Hendricks said, “All the experiences I have had, led me here. From my heart, I do whatever I can to assist the residents here. My goal…quality of life.”

What sets Watercrest apart from other Senior Communities?

Watercrest is a community that welcomes. It falls into a category that fits in between the apartment style option and the all-inclusive one. Residents have a base level of amenities included and depending on what they desire, they can add on services to create their ideal living situation. 

What are some of the base services residents enjoy?

Base services include amenities such as Continental Breakfast, monthly housekeeping, scheduled transportation, valet trash services, full time concierge, a heated and covered swimming pool, engaging activities, social opportunities and more!

Expand on the activities offered at Watercrest.

Watercrest has over 100 different clubs and groups that residents can be a part of and that is just the official ones! Residents are amazing about creating their own unofficial groups as well when they see a need or an interest arises. A perfect example of this is the recycling club as well as the woodworking group. Daily opportunities for groups to meet and work on crafts, play games, exercise, garden or join in events like prayer groups or ice cream socials are offered. Recently, residents enjoyed a Black-Tie Gala as well as a concert by the group The Old Geezers. Additionally, residents get together on the weekends for potlucks and BBQ. They can also be found volunteering for the fire department or organizing the community garden. If they would like to venture out of Watercrest for some fun, opportunities such as a visit to Peeka Ranch to see the alpacas or have dinner at Texas Roadhouse are available.

What if there comes a time where a resident needs more support?

Watercrest has a tiered support system in place. Programs in place for residents, should they need them, are wellness checks as well as transitional programs with more support for meals and activities. For residents needing more assistance, Watercrest offers Memory Care as well as Assisted living.

  • Desmond Hendricks