July 22, 2008

New Residence Offers Seniors Unique Facility

By Jennifer L. Boen, The News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Jul. 22--With a grove of trees on one side, cropland on the other and indoor amenities such as a state-of-the-art theater room, country meets city at Sycamore Village, the area's newest housing complex for people 55 and older.

Located on West County Line Road at Indiana 14, the 101-unit apartment complex and 30-unit memory-care wing will open to its first tenants Monday. Public tours are available Saturday and Sunday.

"The best of two very different worlds" is how Sycamore Village owner Hearth Management LLC of Syracuse, N.Y., describes the offerings.

Sycamore Village offers independent and assisted-living and is licensed by the state's Long-Term Care Division as a residential facility, which means: 24-hour supervision and assistance, on-site nursing care at least eight hours a day, with more as needed, and social activities and outings.

The decor, in tans and creams, "gives it more of a hotel feeling than a hospital ... or a nursing home," said Kristi Maloney, director of sales and marketing for the senior community.

Although meals are included in the rental price, all but the studios and memory-care apartments have kitchens with stoves and full-size refrigerators. The studio kitchenettes have microwaves and small refrigerators. The full bathrooms in every apartment have accessible showers, but no bathtubs. Larger apartments have walk-in closets in the bedrooms.

The monthly rent (which ranges from $2,195 to $3,395) includes other amenities, such as transportation to doctor appointments and errands, as well as use of exercise, billiards and conference rooms and the theater, where movies and cable TV are available throughout the day.

The spa room offers, for additional cost, hairdressing or barbering, neck and back massage, and manicures and pedicures. Residents can also pay for personal laundry service, although free on-site laundry rooms are available.

Cable, phone and Internet access fees are not included, although the apartments are wired for Internet, Maloney said. Free Internet access is available in the library.

Each apartment has its own heating and air-conditioning controls, and utilities are included in the rent.

There is a wellness center across from the dining area, where residents can stop in for their medications or perhaps a blood pressure or blood sugar check.

"We put it there because most of them take their medicine before they eat," Maloney said.

The memory-care wing will have more nursing assistants than the other areas, and residents with more advanced dementia can remain at Sycamore Village unless they require care that is prohibited by Indiana for assisted-living facilities.

"We can take all (people) up to the point when they need either two-person transfer or when they need to be fed," Maloney said.

Sycamore Village, which cost $10.5 million to build, also offers weekly respite care for families who are going on vacation or need a break from caregiver responsibilities but who want to ensure their loved one is cared for. Three to four apartments will be dedicated to respite care, Maloney said, with a base rate of $125 a day.

About 50 employees, including 12 nurses and nursing assistants, have been hired, and about 15 to 20 people have committed to moving in within the next month, Maloney said.

"We want this to be a homelike atmosphere," she said. "We want to cater to the residents and be at their service."


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Copyright (c) 2008, The News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Ind.

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