The new Ashton Plantation Senior Living Center, an assisted-living facility designed to house elderly parish residents, will be located in front of the Ashton Plantation Subdivision.
St. Charles Parish Hospital CEO Fred Martinez says plans to develop the center stretch all the way back to 2001.
“Former Parish President Albert Laque, along with the previous council, approved a Scope Plan for St. Charles Parish,” he said. “Part of the plan for the health care sector of the parish included building an assisted-living facility to house elderly residents that aren’t quite ready for a nursing home, but still are near retirement and need assistance with the care.”
Martinez says the hospital purchased the land, and was trying to build the facility themselves. However, the financing fell through.
“We were going through HUD to get the financing but we weren’t able to secure it,” he said. “So now we are looking to partner with a developer to get the project done.”
DC Schonberg & Associates, LLC presented a plan to build the facility, which is slated to be opened in the spring of 2010. Phase I consists of a 39,621 square foot facility with 36, one bedroom units and 14 Alzheimer’s units. Phase II will consist of 14 independent living cottages.
The estimated cost to complete the facility is $7 million.
“The hospital currently owns six acres of land in Ashton Plantation that has been set aside for an assisted living facility,” Martinez said. “We want the developer to use this land to build the center because we believe the location is ideal.”
Martinez says it provides easy access for emergency vehicles to get to elderly patients and is close to the hospital.
“The developer that we’ve been talking to did his presentation Oct. 30 and we’re trying to figure out a way to work with them on this to get it developed,” Martinez said. “I’m not sure if we will share in the profits or not because we own the land, but the point was not to build it to make a profit, but because it is needed.”
Although there are two nursing homes in the parish, Martinez believes some of the elderly should have other options.
“There are so many people who aren’t ready for a nursing home, but require help,” he said. “This assisted living center is not necessarily for wealthy people and anyone could be welcomed there.”
Currently, Martinez says the state is trying to find funding that would allow elderly people to live in assisted-living centers.
“Places where the elderly don’t need 24 hour medical care are not currently funded by the state,” Martinez said. “I know that there are people at the state level now looking into providing funding sources for these kinds of facilities.”
Something that sets the center apart from others of its kind will be an area that houses Alzheimer’s patients, an illness that causes severe memory loss and brain function deterioration.
“This unit will have to remain locked down at all times because when you have units like these that’s a state requirement,” Martinez says. “Right now, we will work with the developer any way we can but they will be responsible for providing staffing for the facility.”
Martinez says most assisted-living centers don’t have physicians on staff 24 hours a day.
“Out of all of the projects the hospital has done, this is the one most people will ask me about,” he said. “They want to know when it’s coming.”
Martinez says that once an agreement is reached and ground is broken at the facility, they will begin taking names for the waiting list of people who want to live in one of the units.
“The cost to the residents will depend on the overall cost of the project,” he said.
David Schonberg says there will be 50 total units and the target age of residents for the facility average 70 years or older.
Assuming that less than 50 percent of the potential target base is interested, about 443 people would be potential clients for the living center.
Ashton Plantation Senior Living center will be the sixth facility constructed by DC Schonberg & Associates.
The company has been successful with other assisted-living centers in different communities around the nation.
“We have a 40 room facility in Houma, a 42 room living center in Hattiesburg, and three separate facilities in South Carolina,” he said.
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