OSWEGO – When St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Residence opens, not only will Oswego County be introduced to the first New York State licensed assisted living program, a new Memory Care program will also be a unique service offered to the community.
A 14-bed neighborhood within the new residence, Memory Care at St. Francis, will serve individuals diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia-related illness, like Alzheimer’s disease, who will benefit from a community-based living environment with specialized supportive services.
The Memory Care neighborhood will be one of three accommodating St. Francis Commons residents. The neighborhood will feature all of the amenities provided throughout other neighborhoods for residents to use and enjoy, with a little more, noted Julie Chetney, Senior Living Coordinator.
Some of the features unique to the Memory Care neighborhood will include elements that help support activities of daily living, help increase personalization and support autonomy while achieving appropriate levels of stimulation and promoting orientation and socialization. Many of the elements to be included will reflect an “Explore Oswego” theme. They include period memorabilia, historical and scenic local photos, artwork, and wall murals of local outdoor scenery from photographs. An enclosed courtyard area adjacent to the St. Francis Commons Memory Care neighborhood will provide secure access to outdoors.
“As the one of the largest healthcare providers in the area, we know the community is in need of a special care program serving people who have memory deficits in a safe setting,” said Chetney. “We are seeing dedicated caregivers, whether they are family members, friends or neighbors who find it increasingly difficult to meet the care needs of someone with an illness like Alzheimer’s disease, who may be at risk for wandering, or who may have other behaviors attributable to the illness which makes caregiving extremely challenging. It can be a real twenty-four hour a day responsibility and I often hear caregivers talk about the concerns they have even when they are at work or not able to be providing hands-on care or supervision.”
What will make Memory Care at St. Francis a safe and unique experience for residents will be the specially trained staff providing care will undergo. Through a grant from the Gifford Foundation, St. Francis Commons will be partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter to provide education and training in the care of individuals with a dementia-related illness.
Chetney added, “We are grateful to the Gifford Foundation for providing the support that will enable us to partner with the Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter and ensure our staff has the skills and understanding that is necessary to be able to provide the highest quality care to a population that has care needs unique from many others in our community.”
Cathy James, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter is looking forward to bringing their training programs to the staff at St. Francis Commons. “In New York State, 65 percent of long-term care residents have a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. St. Francis Commons’ initiative to provide high quality care for individuals with a form of dementia sets a standard for others to follow and we are proud to be its partner.”
St. Francis Commons will be the only senior care residence in Oswego County offering New York State licensed Assisted Living Program services and amenities; the residence will provide supportive housing and care at a level that is less than a nursing home but more than may be found in an independent setting.
“Building construction will soon be complete and we are now going through the admission process with potential residents who have contacted us,” said Chetney. “We are meeting with potential residents and their families to complete all admission requirements prior to opening.”
Chetney encourages anyone with questions or those interested in beginning the residency application process to contact St. Francis Commons by phone at (315) 326-0870, by email at [email protected], or you can download an application by visiting the St. Francis Commons website at www.stfrancicsommons.com; click on the “Assisted Living” tab. Once a completed application is received an appointment is scheduled to complete the process.
Services at St. Francis Commons will include three meals a day, housekeeping with linen and personal laundry services, scheduled transportation, social programs, assistance with personal care and medication management. A Hair Salon, Gift Shop, as well as cable television and telephone connections in each room are some of the amenities to be offered.
St. Francis Commons will accommodate sixty individuals in three “neighborhoods” within the residence. Private payment, Medicaid, private insurance reimbursement and Supplemental Security Income will be accepted.
The St. Francis Commons project is the latest phase in development on the St. Luke healthcare campus. The campus consists of 15 acres and includes St. Luke Health Services, Bishop’s Commons Enriched Living Residence and Little Lukes Childcare Center. Funding for construction of the $9.1 million assisted living program residence includes an $8 million HEAL-NY grant through the New York State Department of Health. Additional financing for the project has been made available through Operation Oswego County, the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency, the New York State Housing and Community Renewal and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program, the City of Oswego’s Office of Community Development, Pathfinder Bank and the St. Luke-John Foster Burden Fund.
The Gifford Foundation was established in 1954 as a private foundation serving Syracuse and the surrounding Central New York community. The foundation supports individuals and organizations through grants and initiatives that build on community assets and promote positive change in the community. For further information, visit www.giffordfoundation.org