Alzheimer's victims may find a place 2nd group home likely by April ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

December 08, 1992|By Deidre Nerreau McCabe | Deidre Nerreau McCabe,Staff Writer

A Pasadena woman is preparing to open the second group home in the state reserved exclusively for Alzheimer's patients.

Delores E. Rocklin, who already operates Locust Lodge, a group home for 15 elderly people in Pasadena, says the new facility is necessary because of the special demands -- as well as the often eccentric behavior -- of patients with Alzheimer's.

"It disturbs those residents with minor dementia when someone comes out partially dressed or with a sweater on their legs and nothing else," said Ms. Rocklin.

"I think the Alzheimer's patients may function better with people who are their peers. We will have more freedom over there to let them do what they want to do."

The house Ms. Rocklin plans to use, a 1970s split-level adjacent to Locust Lodge in Riviera Beach, will be renovated over the next few months.

She still needs to be licensed by the county and certified by the state Office on Aging, but Ms. Rocklin is confident her proposal ++ will be approved.

"There really is a need for such a facility in that many providers are reluctant to care for Alzheimer's patients, particularly in the latter stages," said Grace M. Smearman, the state's program manager for Senior Assisted Housing.

Ms. Rocklin, who has run Locust Lodge since October 1991, expects to open the second group home by April 1, 1993.

The home, called Myrtle's House, will feature semi-private rooms, each with a bathroom, a common recreation area and fenced-in grounds for patients who like to walk outdoors.

Residents will receive round-the-clock supervision by specially trained staff, said Ms. Rocklin.

"I have a feeling we will have deposits on all 10 slots before it opens," said Ms. Rocklin. "There really is a tremendous need for this type of housing."

Myrtle's House, which will house up to 10 patients, will be the second group home in the state geared specifically to Alzheimer's patients, she said. Another home for five patients operates out of Ellicott City.

Fees for the new home will be about $2,500 a month, she said. Fees for Locust Lodge are $1,000 to $1,800 a month; the state average for group senior-assisted housing is about $1,200 a month, according to state administrators.

Ms. Rocklin and Patricia Burnette, the home's resident manager, said they plan to continue improving Locust Lodge.

Opening Myrtle's House next door will be another step in providing the best care available for elderly patients, they said.

Ms. Smearman said Alzheimer's patients do not need to be segregated from other seniors as a matter of course. But if a patient's behavior is upsetting other residents, having a separate facility is probably a good idea.

"There is a problem sometimes integrating Alzheimer's patients," she said. "The behavior can be frightening."

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