Senior living facility to open in downtown early next year

Sarah Wibell News

Walking around downtown Madison, people can see a lot of activity in various businesses and buildings. One might even take note of the construction and renovation occurring behind the Madison Chophouse Grille at what will soon be The Madison Assisted Living, a new facility owned by Pat Reams.

Reams began this project after hearing locals discussing the lack of options for senior housing. Working alongside Kansas native Sheila McArdle, who has a background in nursing and medical management, the pair developed plans for a thorough facility.

McArdle, vice president of operations at Reams Enterprises, Inc., shared, “Having the dual nursing and management background has really served me well, and having a parent who suffered from dementia due to a brain aneurism really made me understand how difficult this can be for families. Until you’ve been through it, you just don’t know.

“When I first started out as a registered nurse (RN), (assisted living) didn’t have RNs. They didn’t have nurses. There were no assisted living homes, and in skilled nursing homes, they didn’t have nurses, they just had one nurse who was a manager. So, I just consulted, because I really wanted to work with seniors even back then. I think that was the influence of enjoying my grandparents – I loved to spend time with them.”

“I took care of a friend of Pat’s father at one point in Atlanta, and Pat wanted to learn more about senior living and what the differences were, so we met,” McArdle related.

Assisted living means that residents must be ambulatory in some fashion when they move into the facility, whether that’s on foot, using a walker, or in a wheel- or powerchair. Drawing on features of assisted living facilities that had impressed her and aiming to improve upon aspects from other locations that did not work well, she compiled a list that is being incorporated into Reams’ venture.

McArdle pointed out, “There are no federal regulations at this point for assisted living like there are for skilled or hospitals. Each state has their own rules and regulations for licensure. What you find in Georgia is completely different from what you find in Minnesota, Kentucky, or Tennessee. Georgia is also one of the few states in the Southeast that does not have Medicaid funding for assisted living, and Medicare pays nothing for assisted living anywhere. So, I always ask anyone looking at assisted living if they are a veteran or the spouse of one, because there is a program through the VA that can help fund them. We will also offer a 10 percent discount for veterans.”

The Madison Assisted Living will offer 36 apartments – two-bedroom, one-bedroom, and studio – all with ADA compliant bathrooms, and small pets are allowed. Residents will enjoy the large atrium, courtyard and patio, a formal dining room providing three full meals a day, communal living room, individual kitchenets, fitness and therapy gym, theater, chapel, arts and crafts, games, beauty salon, and gourmet bistro. Speech, audiology, and massage therapy will also be offered in addition to a bi-weekly on-site doctor and a quarterly on-site dentist. Additional services will provide personalized care plans, medication management, and other assistance if necessary. Transportation will be available to take residents to the grocery store or doctors’ visits off-site, and residents with their own vehicles will have access to an adjacent parking deck.

McArdle, who will be the director of the facility, stated, “This is just such a unique property to be in a walking community. I think this helps folks maintain independence.

“We want to do a lot of preventative therapy and keep our residents active and interested. Our goal is to keep people out of the hospital. We’re seeing people living and staying at home longer. We want residents to maintain their independence, but they aren’t alone if something happens.”

Construction is expected to be completed in December with licensing fully approved in January. With 65 percent of the rooms pre-leased, a “dusty shoe tour” and open houses are being planned for October.

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