Two communities for aged now offer assisted living Retirement centers at Parkville, Glen Arm have added apartments

A monthly fee of $1,950

Residents receive apartment, meals, help getting dressed

January 14, 1996|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

For the elderly who want to live independently but with a little help, assisted living has long been one solution. It's become an option at two Baltimore County retirement communities in the last month.

New facilities at Oak Crest Village in Parkville and at Glen Meadows Retirement Community in Glen Arm offer 136 apartments for residents who can't live completely on their own but need less than a nursing home's comprehensive care.

The 125-apartment Frederick House opened early this month at Oak Crest, a continuing care community run by the developers of Charlestown Retirement Community.

Oak Crest opened in March on Walther Boulevard and now has 500 apartments and a 700-person waiting list. The assisted-living facility adds the second of three components in the continuing-care spectrum. A nursing home with 120 private rooms will open in December.

Glen Meadows, on the site of a former convent, opened 11 assisted-living suites in mid-December and plans another 16 by April.

The community, which came under new ownership in 1993, sold the last of 215 independent apartments and patio homes in December. It also added a 31-bed nursing home in September for residents of the community on Glen Arm Road.

Both places offer assisted living to their own residents as well as nonresidents. Most are age 83 or older.

By offering a range of social activities and limited help with medical and daily living needs, assisted programs attempt to keep residents as independent as possible, said Dan Rexford, marketing director for Oak Crest.

"These are people who would have traditionally been in nursing homes, but they don't need that," said Mr. Rexford, who expects the new facility to fill up in the next four months. "The need is very big."

Maryland now has 1,500 assisted-living units in continuing care retirement communities, such as Oak Crest and Glen Meadows, which are certified by the Maryland Office on Aging.

The state has another 1,675 units in group senior assisted housing -- individual homes converted to house four to 15 residents. Another 940 units are in multifamily assisted housing, typically apartment building settings, according to the Office on Aging.

Another 5,000 beds in various facilities are licensed by the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for assisted living.

Oak Crest's Frederick House features studio apartments with private bathrooms, for a monthly fee of $1,950. So far, 40 people have paid deposits, Mr. Rexford said.

The fee covers maintenance, housekeeping, nursing care and 24-hour assistance with medication, dressing and bathing. Residents are given three meals a day at their choice of four dining rooms.

Marjorie Cotterman, nurse administrator for Oak Crest's Frederick House, said the medical care is typically preventive. Residents' conditions range from frail to early dementia, she said.

"We have licensed nurses around-the-clock," Ms. Cotterman said. "They're there to help maintain the independence of these residents, so [residents] can focus on the things they can positively do. They don't have to worry about housekeeping. They don't have to worry about shopping. The need for food preparation disappears. Those are the things that become a burden for a lot of people."

Oak Crest, on an 85-acre campus, now has four residential buildings, a community center, an outpatient medical clinic, a convenience store and a bank.

A spring expansion will add a second community center, a swimming pool, an auditorium and a chapel. Construction has begun on another 500 apartments in four buildings scheduled to open by September.

The community, which targets middle-income retirees, eventually will house about 2,400 residents in 1,515 apartments, 250 private nursing rooms and the 125 assisted units, said Mel Tansill, an Oak Crest spokesman.

The community plans an open house for the new facility from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The 60-acre Glen Meadows, on 483 acres of farmland and woods, had been a failed retirement community under another name before it was purchased, renovated and upgraded in 1993 by Presbyterian Senior Services Inc., a joint venture of the Baltimore Presbytery and Pennsylvania-based Presbyterian Homes Inc.

Residents who move to assisted living from outside Glen Meadows pay entrance fees ranging from $20,000 to $40,000, then $83 a day, for a two-room suite with a kitchen and bath, meal preparation and help with dressing, bathing and taking medications, said Gary E. Mohn, executive director.

Residents can move back and forth between independent apartments and nursing units as needed, he said.

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