When Baptist Health officials were still planning a new assisted-living facility on Swaggertown Road in Glenville, they knew they wanted the building to fit in with the picturesque farm it would sit on.
Local officials, community leaders and soon-to-be tenants got to see the end result of that vision Friday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour at Judson Meadows.
There are sunrooms and a stone fireplace, earth-tone furnishings and plenty of natural light, lending a country feel to the 60,000-square-foot facility.
Located in a corner of the 50-acre Horstman Farm, a longtime favorite among locals for strawberry picking, Judson Meadows is the first of several phases Baptist Health has planned for an eventual senior living campus on the site.
“This senior living campus represents our commitment to meet the changing health and social needs of our aging adult community across the continuum of care,” said Baptist Health President and CEO Timothy Bartos.
Judson Meadows offers a higher level of service than a basic assisted living facility. Staff are on duty 24/7 to help with meals and snacks, housekeeping, laundry, bathing and medication. The three-story facility includes 67 apartments — studios, one- and two-bedrooms — able to accommodate a total of 72 residents. The rooms come with a kitchenette, cable, WiFi, bathrooms and showers with grab bars, non-slip floors and removable shower heads. Common areas include a living room, dining room, game room, library, sunrooms and patio. There is even a spa room where residents can get massages or manicures.
Over the next five years, Baptist Health will build a skilled nursing facility on the farm. But instead of one giant facility, there will be eight cottage-like buildings with 24 private rooms each. Next, the Scotia-based health system will construct an independent living community consisting of senior apartments and a small strip of retail shops geared toward senior citizens.
“We hope to have some businesses that will appeal to our seniors,” said Bartos. “Perhaps a salon, a little café, a dry cleaner. It’s kind of a new concept, but we want to have a full continuum of care on this campus, and that includes this often-overlooked commercial aspect.”
The assisted living facility cost $14 million. Construction on the $37 million nursing home has already begun and is slated to be completed by the summer of 2015.
Officials expect the need for senior housing to only grow with each year. In 2010, Schenectady County had 23,083 people age 65 or older, said Dan Heim, executive vice president of LeadingAge New York. That number is expected to grow by 37 percent by 2025.
Jane Coffey, an 89-year-old Charlton woman, has already picked out her room at Judson Meadows.
“It’s on the first floor, and it’s a little bit bigger than the others because I like to do a lot of crafts,” she said Friday, comfortable in her wheelchair and cheetah-print slippers in the facility’s dining room. “I make miniature dollhouses, but I’ll be making smaller ones now.”
Coffey’s husband is terminally ill, which prompted her to look for somewhere to move after he is gone.
“I think it will be about a month now,” she said. “I’m very active in Burnt Hills activities, and this was a close enough facility for me that I could live here and still get out to Burnt Hills. I think it’s a lovely place I’m going to be. I’ll be starting my life all over again, really.”
As officials milled about the grounds Friday, Sue Tedesco fielded multiple inquiries about Room 320 from potential residents. The executive director of the new facility confirmed the corner room on the third floor has the most coveted views in the place. Two windows look out over the farm’s strawberry fields and recently plucked rows of corn.
The view will change over time. Most of the site is still actively farmed by the former owners, but future construction of the senior facilities will put an end to large-scale agriculture there.
Coffey said she just learned Baptist Health is building the nursing home on the grounds. The setup is ideal, she said, because she won’t have to move very far when she can no longer take care of herself.
Tedesco said that was the idea all along.
“You don’t want to move them,” she said, looking out the windows at the farmland. “You want to eliminate the moves as much as possible. They want a home, and they want to stay in that home. This is the continuum of care they’re looking for.”