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Old, local home gets new meaning (Ottawa, KS)

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 2:20:09 PM

Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce Newsletter

Imagine the fear when an aging loved one wanders away from home or leaves the kitchen with something still cooking on the stove. ComfortCare Homes president Scott Schultz said a lot of times it’s a crisis event that brings families to him, seeking help for their family member with cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. With his ComfortCare Home in Baldwin City already filled to capacity and the increasing demand for small, residential care homes, Schultz decided it was time to open another home, this time in Ottawa. The perfect place came on the market in February of 2014. Located at 27 E. Rockwood Drive, Ottawa, it was previously owned by Ottawa University. “The place was very appealing because it has 3,500 square feet of space on one level and is located on two acres,” Schultz said. “It’s probably one of the nicest homes in Ottawa that met our needs.” The home has seven bedrooms, five bathrooms and can house eight residents. “The president of Ottawa University lived here,” Schultz said, “and during semester breaks the international students stayed here and had parties here. I imagine it was as useful back then at meeting particular needs as it is now for meeting ours.” Along with the bedrooms and baths, there are two large living rooms and a generous kitchen. The two acres of land features a large and beautifully fenced backyard with a walking path, lovely landscaping, a patio with seating and a water feature, a wooded area and a large asphalt driveway that provides plenty of parking. The home’s focus will be on dementia care which is why a more intimate setting is important. “People with cognitive impairment can become easily confused in a large facility,” Schultz said. “It’s also important for us to have a higher caregiver-to-resident ratio so the residents have an easier time getting to know the staff members. There’s a nurse on staff certified as a dementia care practitioner and every person who works for us has training in that area as well.” Residents are encouraged to participate in day-to-day chores around the house, like folding laundry, feeding the birds, and casual gardening because it gives them a sense of meaning in their lives. Another important part of the ComfortCare story is its relationship with the community. “The Ottawa community has been very friendly and the Rockwood home owners association has really welcomed us,” Schultz said. Ottawa allows up to eight residents and two caregivers per residence by special permit. “Being so warmly welcomed here we look forward to our residents being able to participate in neighborhood activities like barbecues and lighting holiday luminaries,” he said. “It often times reminds the residents of activities they enjoyed in the neighborhoods they grew up in.” “It’s really the wave of the future,” Schultz said. “When a person has to leave their home they really prefer a house to a facility. A person with memory loss does better in a smaller space with fewer people. In an institution they take a wing and call it the dementia care wing. Here, we don’t have a wing, we have a real home. Everyone wants to be ‘like home.’ Here, we are home.”

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Testimonials

We are extremely pleased with the care that my uncle has received at ComfortCare Homes. We feel that the small environment is easier for him to navigate, provides individualized care, and doesn’t have an “institutional” feel while providing all the services that the larger memory care facilities provide. During the past year, my uncle has had ups and downs. At one point he needed additional care and was moved to Founder’s Crest, but upon regaining his strength, was able to move back to his original ComfortCare Home. Everyone from the nursing staff, to the office staff, to the maintenance man was helpful during that time. I am so happy that we chose ComfortCare Homes!

- Marilyn Hugon

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