The newest facility at Brandon Wilde is in training mode for now, but soon it will become a haven.
Officials from University Health Care Systems Friday morning cut the ribbon to open The Windsor House, a new 25-suite assisted-living facility that will specialize in the care of residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“We’re so proud of the strategic studies, the construction and most of all the support from this community in building a haven for those facing memory disorders,” said Laurie Ott, president of the University Health Foundation.
Construction on the more than $3 million project started in November 2011 on six acres adjacent to the Brandon Wilde campus in Evans. It initially was planned as a personal-care home, said Brandon Wilde President and CEO Rich Kisner. When state legislation passed last year creating the designation of assisted living communities, the project was upgraded and now awaits that new level of licensing before bringing in residents, Kisner said.
In the meantime, the staff will use the next month or so for specialized training.
“We wanted some time to make sure that we were able to work out every possible glitch that we might have run into, and make sure that we had a safe environment for residents,” Kisner said. “When you’re dealing with an Alzheimer’s/dementia population, safety becomes a very, very high priority. We wanted to make sure that everything was completed and behind us.”
All 25 suites have kitchenettes, private bathrooms and showers, said Jennie Phillips, director of assisted living for Brandon Wilde. The facility has a spa and a physician’s exam room, along with small, secure private courtyards and a large community courtyard.
“We’ve got staff who are excited to come up and start working,” Phillips said. “I’m just excited to get things going and get folks moved in.”
A typical resident, Phillips said, will be one who “can still assist with their activities of daily living – showering, grooming, getting dressed – but they may either be a safety concern, or they can benefit from the dementia-specific programming.”
Kisner said he expects initial residents to come from within Brandon Wilde.
“Our first phase will be our existing residents at Brandon Wilde that are appropriate to move to The Windsor House,” he said. “Then we will work out some of the break-in procedures with them, and then eventually we will open it to the public as well.”
The eventual mix would be roughly half from Brandon Wilde, half from the community.
The Windsor House name comes from Brandon Wilde resident Stella Windsor Grandin, who donated $1 million for the facility in memory of her parents, Alexander and Ruth Windsor, who were among Brandon Wilde’s first residents in 1990.