Home-Like Senior Living Option Gains Appeal as Community Alternative

If a rising trend in Kansas is any indication, there may soon be many more small, home-like options competing with large, traditional senior living communities. 

In Shawnee County, Kansas, local provider Oakley Place has opened two new “home plus” facilities in the past year to serve seniors in home-like settings with 12 residents and a staff to resident ratio of 1 to 4, according to a Topeka Capitol-Journal report

The company, owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Mandy and John Coleman, brings nearly two decades of long term care experience and is poised for more demand, it says, among the 126 similar facilities in the state of Kansas. 

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“People are wanting the smaller, more personalized care, especially for the Alzheimer’s and dementia patients,” Mandy Coleman told the Capitol-Journal. “They don’t have the same periods of agitation like they do in the big facilities where all the bells and whistles are going off.”

The “home plus” model, which has similar outposts in states that allow for it, includes a shared kitchen, dining room and other common spaces where residents can contribute to household tasks if they choose. Each has his or her own bedroom and bathroom, though the outdoor spaces are restricted for the safety of dementia patients.

Originally, Oakley Place limited its residents to five per “house,” but eventually allowed that number to rise when the count allowed by the state of Kansas was raised to 12. At that point, the business viability and profitability become more realistic, Coleman told the publication. 

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The operators of such facilities, including Brooke Fischer, administrator of Prairie Wind Senior Living in Berryton, Kansas acknowledge in the article that the solution is not for everyone. Fischer recently opened a facility with her mother and sister that will be accepting its first resident in the coming weeks.

While it makes sense for some people who are interested in aging in place, even when facing some physical challenges of aging, for those who require intensive medical care including dementia treatment and attention may not be a fit for the “home plus” model. 

“A lot of the bigger facilities work toward providing a home-like environment, but we’re actually a private home,” Fischer told the Capitol-Journal. “The ability to be a lot more flexible is what’s really exciting.”

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Read the Topeka Capitol-Journal article

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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