The Planning Commission here unanimously approved a site plan for an assisted senior living facility that will serve senior citizens 75 and older, and seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
The facility is proposed to be on Minglewood Drive, off Aversboro Road, in front of the Village at Aversboro community.
Robert Steenson, vice president of development for Carillon Assisted Living, said there are currently 3,582 senior citizens, ages 75 years and older, within a 5-mile radius of Garner. He said that number is expected to grow 23 percent over the next five years.
“So to serve that community, particularly in Garner, there are only 208 licensed assisted living beds and none of those are designated for Alzheimer’s,” Steenson said.
Steenson said he hopes to address that issue through a facility in Garner.
The nearly 36,000 square-foot facility will have 84 beds and will be one story. The facility does not provide medical care. It does provide assistance with daily living activities, such as dining, dressing and medication management, Steenson said. It also provides specialized programs and secured units for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
“We are a particularly quiet use,” he said. “There are roughly 1,500 to 2,000 people who live with us in our communities across the state and the last time I checked, three residents had cars, and I’m pretty sure their families were trying to take them away.”
Carillon Assisted Living, which is based in Raleigh, currently has 20 assisted living home facilities throughout the state. One more is under construction. The assisted living facility also accepts state assistance programs for lower income families or seniors who have outlived their assets.
Commission member Cliff Sauls asked whether the company has had any problems in the past with its Alzheimer’s residents getting off site.
Steenson said the company hasn’t had that problem.
“The Alzheimer’s units are highly secure,” he said. Steenson said the doors are magnetically locked.
The court yard is surrounded by an eight-foot tall fence, with another gate. The perimeter openings also have alarms on them.
“Most of the residents are at a stage of life where they are too frail to go out, and our staff discourages it,” Steenson said. “If you look at the site design of the facility, walking is a great activity for seniors, but every path that comes out of the door of the facility loops around and comes back into another door.”
The neighbors at the Village at Aversboro have recently said at a town council meeting that they support the plan.
Tony Tate, of Tony M. Tate Landscape Architecture, said he and others have met with the board at the Village at Aversboro to discuss the plans.
“We’ve always had great dialogue,” he said. “And we hope that the transparency we’ve shown will come through. So we’ve made some commitments to them and listened to them and we hope that we’ll all be pleased with what we do to satisfy their concerns.”
The plan will go before the Garner Town Council at an August meeting.