CALLAWAY–Building an assisted living facility (ALF) in Callaway would fill a gap in the town’s progression of aging and daily living according to those involved with the project.
Brett Eggleston serves as a Committee Chair on the potential ALF and led more than 50 community members in a presentation and discussion on Monday, July 12.
He said Callaway has great healthcare services available such as the Callaway District Hospital and skilled nursing facility, the Callaway Good Life Center. The Grand Generation Manor offers an affordable housing and independent living option.
However, Eggleston said the gap that remains is an assisted living facility to serve as an intermediate step for aging residents. An outstanding theme of Monday night’s meeting was being able to both serve current residents as well as bring more people to Callaway. An ALF would open up housing opportunities and create jobs, providing for several economic benefits, Eggleston explained.
“What our community has assessed is one of the ways we can do that [attract new people] is provide assisted living which in turn will open up some housing in town where we can attract new patrons,” Eggleston said.
Several people have been working on the ALF project for many years including Eggleston, Caleb Poore, Ken Pitkin, Mary Ross, Randy Kimball, Stacey Guthard, and Vicky Hendricks, among others.
Prior to COVID-19 shutdowns, the team visited assisted living facilities in other communities, worked on financing plans and building designs, and conducted a market study to determine the need for an ALF in Callaway.
Eggleston said the team worked with a company from Minnesota to assess ALF needs and demand as part of a community analysis. The results indicated that by 2024, it is estimated there will be at least 62 individuals will be looking for assisted living from the Callaway, Arnold, and nearby areas.
What exactly is assisted living? Board members explained assisted living as an intermediate step for an again adult or a person with disabilities who does not need constant medical care, but instead could benefit from assistance with meal time, medicine, social activities, moving locations day-today, getting ready and personal care, and other help with daily activities.
Designs of the potential facility were drawn by Clay Mohr of Arnold who donated his time to the project. Construction would take place on land donated by LaVonne Hickenbottom next to the current nursing home.
ALF board members explained the new facility would be connected to the existing Good Life Center and could share services such as housekeeping, laundry, medication administration, and food preparation.
The proposed facility includes 10-12 units ranging from studio to two-bedroom, community kitchen, community living area, storage, and exercise room.
Prior to COVID-19 the initial estimate of the project was $1.2 million. Board members understand now might not be the best time to build due to construction prices but are looking into funding options such as local donations, grants, and financing.
Some community concerns expressed during Monday night’s meeting included more two bedroom options, cost of construction and rental rates, storage, basement/tornado shelter, parking garage or car ports, etc.
Caleb Poore said the board wants to hear ideas from the public but everyone has to realize these ideas come with price tags. Ken Pitkin said “we believe this will and can happen” and wants to put all the pieces together.
Callaway Good Life Center Administrator Vicky Hendricks expressed why assisted living is an important asset to the community:
“For me, it’s because we’ve lost community members because we don’t have assisted living. So they get to that point and they don’t need a nursing home but they’re a little bit passed independent living. So they go to another town to be in assisted living and then they move right into their nursing home and they don’t come back. And I think that hurts our community big time because we’re not just going to lose one person we’re going to lose a couple. Pretty soon maybe the daughter is going to move down there to be closer to mom and dad,” Hendricks said.