by Josh Heck
ComfortCare Homes is hoping to raise the bar on providing Alzheimer’s care by doing something it hasn’t done before: building a senior living center from the ground up. The Wichita-based company will start construction sometime this month on a $2.6 million facility that will house up to 28 residents with advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. The residence will include 26 units and two short-stay suites.
Doug Stark, president of Comfort Care Homes, talked to me about the project this week. He says this isn’t a speculative project — rather it’s one that will better serve the company’s existing residents. “We are seeing the need for there to be better care options for advanced dementia,” Stark says. He anticipates having 19 or the 26 units filled when the center, which will be on two acres southeast of the intersection of 21st and Woodlawn, behind Brittany Center, opens. The property is off of Bramblewood Street.
The residence will be called Founders Crest and will be the first piece of what is expected to be a mixed-use development. Accel Construction LLC is the general contractor. Tom Compton of Compton Associates is the lead architect on the project, but Health Facilities Group LLC, which specializes in medical projects, collaborated on the design. Equity Bank is financing the project.
Stark says the facility will be equipped to provide advanced-stage memory care and could serve as a place where residents can be referred when other senior living providers can no longer care for them.
Comfort Care Homes has nine existing facilities, all of them made to look like homes and blend in with a residential setting. The company offers mainly memory-care services. In 2011, Comfort Care opened its ninth Wichita facility to offer long-term Alzheimer’s care. The Chalet, as it is called, is a 4,500-square-foot home near Central and Woodlawn.
But Stark’s latest project goes against the grain.
While this is the first new-building project Comfort Care has undertaken, Stark says it was still designed to look like a residential property and provide a home-like atmosphere for residents. Amenities will include a beauty salon, a therapy room, a medical suite and gardens. Stark says Comfort Care has a partnership with GraceMed Health Clinic to provide in-house dental services for residents.
The site near Brittany Center, Stark says, provides proximity to all of Comfort Care’s other properties, which are located in the general area of Central and Woodlawn.
Charles and Mary Lou Stark founded Comfort Care Homes 20 years ago, utilizing a residential-care concept to treat people with Alzheimer’s. Doug Stark has long advocated for additional funding for Alzheimer’s research and has even taken his fight to Washington D.C.
Josh Heck covers health care, professional services, education and energy.Previous: ComfortCare Homes opens ninth residence
I cannot say enough good things about Maurita & Susan (CareGivers) at 219. They are always caring & cheerful & positive. They have gone out of their way (I feel above & beyond) to help my aunt adjust to her new home. They call me at the first sign of any concerns or changes in my aunt. They treat her as part of their family. I am very grateful every day that my aunt is in their care. It is comforting to know she is where she belongs. I feel like they are a great team!
- Carla Barnard