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New assisted living facility opens

August 13, 1999|By GREG SIMMONS

Loyalton, one of five new residential centers designed for senior citizens in Washington County, opened its doors Friday.

Loyalton, an assisted living center, cost $7 million to complete and will employ about 50 staff members. It has the capacity for about 125 residents.

"Assisted living in this area is really a new concept," said Mitzi Valentine, marketing director for Loyalton, which is owned by the Emeritus Corp. of Seattle.

Assisted living communities fill the gap between in-home care for the elderly and nursing home care, Valentine said. She said assisted living centers differ from nursing homes because of the relative independence of the residents.

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Valentine said assisted living residents may need help with some things like laundry and house cleaning, but are not medically dependent like a resident at a nursing home.

There are no residents living yet at Loyalton, which is awaiting regulatory approval from the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The center is accepting reservations from prospective residents.

Also planned in Washington County are:

* Interfaith Housing of Western Maryland and a Rockville, Md., partnership are planning a center on Robinwood Drive that will cost $3.49 million.

* Robinwood Village, also on Robinwood Drive, is a joint effort between the Washington County Health System and Tressler Lutheran Services of Mechanicsburg, Pa. The center will cost $18 million to $20 million.

* Outlook Pointe at Hagerstown, a $5 million project, is planned on Professional Court off Eastern Boulevard by Balanced Care Corp. of Mechanicsburg, Pa.

* An Alzheimer's and assisted living center on Sharpsburg Pike is planned by Continued Care Concepts based in Ohio.

Loyalton director MJ Williams said there is a large market for assisted living care in the area. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of the county's 128,000 residents are over 65 years old, based on 1997 estimates.

"There's an entire generation of baby boomers that need assistance with their parents. Many of these baby boomers still have children that they're taking care of," Williams said.

From an economic standpoint, the new assisted living communities are good for the county, said Tom Riford, the marketing director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

The projects are "pumping millions of dollars into the economy," Riford said.

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