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Group aims to build assisted living center in Caroline by 2015

BY ROBYN SIDERSKY

When David Upshaw brought his mother to Caroline County from Lynchburg some years ago, he couldn’t find an assisted living facility that she liked.

Down there, he said, the one she was in “made her come alive.”

And though she passed away five years ago, Upshaw made it his mission to bring a facility to Caroline County that would help others like his mother.

For the last four years, Upshaw and a group he formed called Caroline Cares, have been discussing the concept.

Now, it is coming to fruition.

An $8 million facility to be called New Hope could open in the town of Bowling Green in 2015.

The facility will be run by the nonprofit Caroline Cares group, Upshaw said.

The organization’s board is composed of people representing various areas of the county.

It won a $40,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to perform a market study.

The study, done by the George Washington Regional Commission in August 2012, told the group what its members already knew—that there was a need for this kind of facility in Caroline County.

“The proposed Bowling Green assisted living facility with a special needs dementia care wing would address a community need overwhelmingly recognized and supported in the community market survey, as well as being supported by prevalency data and local health care provided feedback,” the study said. “Without a licensed assisted living facility in either Caroline County or King George County, the community desire for such a facility is apparent and compelling.”

No licensed assisted living facilities exist in the identified primary market area, which includes Caroline and King George counties, and the towns of Bowling Green and Port Royal.

The study said the population of that area above the age of 65 is projected to grow 15.3 percent by 2015.

That need is exactly why Upshaw and his group got moving.

The Bowling Green Town Council recently approved a special-use permit for the land where the planned facility will be located, near the intersection of Milford Street and Trewalla Lane.

The 24-acre property was donated to the group, Upshaw said.

The next step for the group is to secure the loan and then begin looking at contractors to build the facility.

It’s expected to take about a year from the time ground is broken to when it is completed, Upshaw said.

It will have 60 to 100 units and will serve primarily the elderly who need assistance with at least one of their daily activities.

“What we are looking to do is to meet the needs of our friends and family in the community,” Upshaw said.

Bowling Green Town Manager Stephen Manster echoed Upshaw’s comments.

“This means a development that is here in town that addresses a great need in the entire community, not just Bowling Green, but all of Caroline and the surrounding areas,” Manster said.

The group wanted the facility to be in Bowling Green, and the town partnered with the nonprofit to help make it happen.

“We wanted it in Bowling Green because it’s centrally located and a small-town setting with access to doctors and shopping. We wanted a peaceful place where elderly folks could feel comfortable,” Upshaw said.

He emphasized that it will be “quality care at an affordable price.”

Not only will the facility bring a place for elderly in need to live, but it will also provide about 50 jobs.

Upshaw said it will hire a project manager, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, maintenance and cooking staff and different people with different skill levels.

The facility will be self-supporting, he said, and the residents’ rent will pay for the staffing and the maintenance of the facility.

It will be more than just an assisted living facility, though, Upshaw said.

The group is looking for partners such as the American Association of Retired Persons and local churches.

“The facility is going to be a place for seniors to be housed, but our hope is to do more than build a building. Our hope is to build community. We want to be a resource to all the seniors in the area,” he said.

CAROLINE CARES

If you’d like more information about the assisted living facility planned for Caroline, contact David Upshaw at getherva@gmail.com.

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