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Proposed senior site

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized

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Published on November 30, 2010 with No Comments

By Carl Kurek

Not all retirees pack up and move to Florida, in reality many stay right where they have lived all of their life. In fact, there are nearly 7,000 senior citizens over the age of 75 who live in Porter County alone.

And that number is expected to increase by 32 percent in the next five years.

Of course, there are senior and assisted living facilities already established in Porter County such as Miller’s Senior Living Community, Comfort Keepers, Rittenhouse and Whispering Pines. But with record numbers of baby boomers reaching retirement age, and the older population of Americans getting older, the need for more senior care facilities is ever growing.

Since 1900, the number of Americans age 65 and older has increased 12 times from 3.1 million to 37.9 million. In 2007, the number of seniors age 64-74 was nearly nine times larger than in 1900, and the 74-84 age group was 17 times larger. But perhaps most impressive is the fact that 85 and older age group was 45 times larger in 2007, than it was in 1900.

Knowing the number of senior citizens over the age of 75 living in Porter County, imagine the number of those 65 years of age or older living in the area.

A recent study performed by Strategy Planning Associates of Schaumberg, Ill. looked to determine the demand and feasibility for senior and assisted housing and facilities in Porter County.

The verdict:

“There is an increasingly older population and there are limited areas they can go to,” Steven Hovany, president of Strategy Planning Associates, said.

In the past, Hovany said, it was always the oldest daughter whose responsibility it was to take care of the aging parents. But nowadays, women work and are not expected to stay home and be full-time caregivers.

“Society is changing and populations are growing,” Hovany said. “A lot of people always say, ‘I’d never put my mother in a place like that,’ but the fact is that a lot of people do because they find this kind of facility is the best solution.”

The type of facility Hovany is referring to is known as a continuing-care retirement community, or CCRC. According to the study, these types of facilities are becoming increasingly popular with senior citizens because they enable residents to move from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing environments while staying on one campus.

Patrick Kleihege, principle partner of St. Andrews LLC, hopes to help provide a place for those seniors who would benefit from such a campus by developing Porter Medical Campus and Senior Living Community. The new development would be located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 6 and State Road 49, adjacent to the site where Porter Health System is constructing their new hospital.

Kleihege’s plan call’s for the property’s frontage along U.S. Highway 6 to accommodate commercial establishments such as restaurants, a bank and a pharmacy. But the remainder of the site will be devoted to 10-12 office and medical buildings, senior housing, assisted living quarters and a skilled nursing facility.

Hovany said there are two things people look for when searching for senior care facilities – proximity to medical services and proximity to family. Although the proposed site has no connection with Porter Health System, the study conducted by Hovany states the potential for interaction due to the proximity between the two sites has limitless possibilities.

“The main question is always whether there is enough business and a population to support a facility like this, and we found that yes there is,” Hovany said. “It’s just a pleasant thing to have as your housing stock.”

Based on the results of the demand analyses and the search and survey of area senior housing alternatives, Strategy Planning Associates concluded that the proposed site would be best suited for a CCRC because it would meet all of the needs of the market segment. It will also create a balance of various types of lifestyles and medical needs.

Furthermore, according to the study, this type of facility would be very attractive to potential residents and their families because it ensures that they can stay within the community even as their health needs change. The study suggests that a CCRC also offers peace of mind to couples moving into such a facility since they will be near to one another in the instance that one has a major medical need.

“There was concern that if you rezone for one of these facilities, they wouldn’t sell and would be turned into apartments,” Hovany said. “But I think we made it clear with this study, that won’t happen.”

Although the Web site www.portermedicalcampus is under construction, more information on the proposed site or the study conducted by Strategy Planning Associates can be found by e-mailing Kleihege at portermedicalcampus@comcast.net.

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