Seniors are booming business in the Wenatchee Valley
WENATCHEE — A town square, complete with movie theater, 1950s-themed cafe, art studio and beauty salon, is the hub of the new 39,348-square-foot Fieldstone Memory Care facility at 817 Red Apple Road, Wenatchee.
The state-of-the art facility owned by Yakima-based Cascadia Senior Living and Development will join a host of senior living communities in the valley.
Construction is set to be complete in September, offering space for 60 residents in 48 rooms.
“As a company, we are looking at places where memory care or more support for memory care is needed. It brought us to Wenatchee. It also has brought us to Issaquah, Olympia, Spokane, Puyallup and other places,” said Scott Houghton, Fieldstone’s regional director who also runs the company’s memory care facility in Issaquah.
“Projections show a need not just for memory care, but for assisted living in the next five to 10 years. There’s a large number of baby boomers who are going to need that assistance. Companies across the U.S., including Cascadia, are looking at that growth and want to make sure we’re there to provide those services.”
Population forecasts show that in 2017 residents over age 65 accounted for 19 percent of the population in Chelan and Douglas counties, That’s up from 14.4 percent in 1990.
The senior population here is 3.7 percent higher than the state average, according to Eastern Washington University’s Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development Analysis.
“We do know that the folks we serve, those over the age of 65, are the fastest growing group,” said Bruce Buckles, executive director of the Aging and Adult Care of Central Washington. The agency serves seniors and vulnerable adults with disabilities in Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan, Grant, Lincoln and Adams counties.
As the aging population in the Wenatchee area grows, so does the demand for senior housing services. Currently, the demand is being served by:
- At least five in-home chore services that offer help with daily living: Things like housecleaning, nutrition and medication monitoring for seniors still in their homes.
- More than 20 facilities in Chelan and Douglas counties that provide 1,160 beds for people needing everything from full-time nursing care to assisted living and memory care.
- 28 adult family homes, each offering space for up to six residents.
- Hundreds of independent living apartments in the valley, some of which are on the same campus as assisted living facilities.
Bonaventure, 50 29th St. N.W., East Wenatchee, opened about 10 years ago, with 195 “apartments” designed to offer a spectrum of services, allowing residents access to extra help with chores or skilled nursing care as needed without the need to relocate.
Residents range in age from 65 to 103, said Executive Director Megan Vogt.
“We have independent seniors who are on the go. And we have those in assisted living who need help with medicine or mobility. And we also have memory care. Residents who come in as an active senior are able to make this their home through the end of life,” she said.
Vogt describes the Bonaventure campus as a cruise ship.
“It’s fun. People participate as they want and there’s always something to do,” she said. “Our activity director throws the best parties. We encourage families to visit and participate. We like to see kids running around. We want to include everybody.”
Prestige Senior Living provides a similar spectrum of services, with 144 independent living apartments and 32 assisted living apartments. The Colonial Vista campus on Okanogan Avenue also has an acute nursing care facility and a home health care service.
Executive Director Aaron Lindholm said the 30-year age range of “seniors” means service providers to adapt to different demands.
“The current market, those who aren’t quite the boomers, want consistency in service, to feel supported and to have their needs met,” he said.
The younger baby boomer generation is looking for more activity, to be more involved, to have more sense of purpose in the community.
“People are not moving into a facility like this to die anymore. We are here to help them thrive in the next chapter of their lives,” he said.
The big challenge: finding the right people
Labor tops the list of challenges for the senior services industry.
“The valley has a huge need for certified nursing assistants, at the senior living facilities and at the hospitals,” said Aaron Lindholm, executive director at Prestige Senior Living at Colonial Vista, 601 Okanogan Ave., Wenatchee.
Prestige has 56 employees serving the assisted living and independent living residents on the Colonial Vista campus.
Bonaventure in East Wenatchee has 75 employees, covering health services, activities, dining, housekeeping, reception and sales, Executive Director Megan Vogt said.
Fieldstone Memory Care in Wenatchee, currently under construction, will have about 60 employees when it opens. At the moment, it has a staff of three. Tamara Steffen accepted the role of executive director in April.
The hunt for employees is getting started now, she said. The jobs available include caregiving as well as food services, building maintenance, housekeeping and office staff.
“We have enough time to bring on the right people,” she said. “The focus is absolutely on finding the right person, to make sure we have people who have the heart for it. We want to get the right staff in here early,” Steffen said.
The hiring process is important, Lindholm agreed, because turnover hurts.
“It’s difficult for residents when they see a different face every week, or families have to answer the same questions every time they visit,” he said. “One of the blessings with this community is we have some staff who have been here more than 20 years.”
To help keep employees, the senior living facilities employ several incentive programs. At Prestige that includes paying for certification classes and offering employee recognition.
“This industry attracts people who are not in it for the dollars. It’s about the support, about how they are giving back to residents. We try to support that,” he said.
Senior living facilities: Keeping track of the changes
- Prestige Care Inc. bought Colonial Vista Retirement and Assisted Living in Wenatchee and Hearthstone Cottage in East Wenatchee in 2016. They are now called Prestige Senior Living at Colonial Vista and Prestige Senior Living at East Wenatchee. They were part of Carl Campbell’s Triple C Convalescent Centers, which started with Parkside in 1953.
- Campbell donated the former Parkside Healthcare at 1230 Monitor Ave. to the city of Wenatchee in 2009. It is just about to make its debut as a mental health residential treatment and crisis stabilization center.
- Noble Healthcare, an Idaho-based company owned by Cale and Josh Wester, bought the 65-bed Cashmere Convalescent Center in January from the Dronen family. It is now called Cashmere Care Center. Noble Healthcare also operates retirement apartments and a care center in Tekoa, south of Spokane. Chelan County property records show the property sold for $825,000.
- Oregon-based Avamere bought the former Columbia Heights Assisted Living facility on Cherry Street in February 2017. It is now called Avamere at Wenatchee. County records show the property was sold for $28.5 million.
- Kadie Glen Assisted Living, 451 N. Baker Ave., East Wenatchee, was previously was known as East Wenatchee Assisted Living. It sold for $1.13 million in 2014.
- The former 92-bed Highline Convalescent Center, 609 Highline Drive, East Wenatchee, also once owned by Carl Campbell, closed as a nursing home in 2014 and briefly served as a memory care center. Confluence Health Foundation bought the property for $1 million in 2016. It now serves as office space for Confluence Health.
- Regency Wenatchee Rehabilitation and Nursing Center opened in 2015 at 1326 Red Apple Road, Wenatchee. It is a 55-bed skilled nursing center, which replaced Regency Manor in Chelan, which opened in 1968.
By the numbers
Chelan and Douglas counties have 1,160 beds available for people needing everything from full-time nursing care to assisted living and memory care.
The projected number of people over the age of 70 with dementia in the two counties in 2018 tops 2,000.
The two counties have:
4 skilled nursing facilities with a total of 242 beds for those needing the highest level of nursing care.
13 assisted living and memory care facilities offering space for 794 people.
28 adult family homes with space for 124 people.
Cashmere Care Center: 65 beds
Central Washington Hospital Transitional Care Unit: 22 beds
Colonial Vista Post Acute and Rehabilitation Center: 100 beds
Regency Wenatchee Rehabilitation and Nursing Center: 55 beds
Total beds: 242 beds
Assisted living facilities
Avamere at Wenatchee: 84 beds
Blossom Creek Senior Alzheimer Community: 50 beds
Blossom Valley Senior Assisted Living Community: 80 beds
Epledalen Retirement and Assisted Living: 39 beds
Heritage Heights at Lake Chelan: 32 beds
Highgate Senior Living: 75 beds
Mountain Meadows (Leavenworth): 60 beds
Prestige Senior Living at Colonial Vista: 55 beds
Riverwest Retirement Community: 54 beds
Chelan County total beds: 529 beds
Amber Waves ALF: 15 beds
Bonaventure of East Wenatchee: 149 beds
Kadie Glen Assisted Living: 60 beds
Prestige Senior Living at East Wenatchee: 41 beds
Douglas County total beds: 265
Chelan and Douglas counties total: 794 beds
Adult Family Homes
Includes homes for developmental disabilities
Chelan County: 20 homes, 85 beds
Douglas County: 8 homes, 39 beds
Total beds: 124
SOURCE: State Department of Social and Health Services website
19 percent - Share of Chelan/Douglas population age 65 and older as of 2017.
14.4 percent - Share of Chelan/Douglas population age 65 and older in 1990.
15.3 percent - Share of Washington state population age 65 and older in 2017
11.7 percent - Share of Washington state population age 65 and older in 1990
SOURCE: Chelan-Douglas Trends
Population and aging forecast
Projected number of persons age 60 or above in 2018
Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Lincoln and Okanogan counties: 71,169
Chelan County: 20,046
Douglas County: 10,276
Projected number of persons age 70 or above with dementia in 2018
Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Lincoln and Okanogan counties: 5,440
Chelan County: 1,572
Douglas County: 808
Projected number of persons using in-home services in 2018
Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Lincoln and Okanogan counties: 1866
Chelan County: 385
Douglas County: 153
Projected number of persons using community residential services in 2018
Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Lincoln and Okanogan counties: 620
Chelan County: 226
Douglas County: 93
Average daily cost for care (2017)
Home health aid $163 $166
Assisted living $139 $153
Nursing home $283 $282
Source: Seniorliving.org, Genworth’s 2017 Cost of Care Survey
Average monthly cost for care (2017)
Home health care $4,957 $5,053
Assisted living $4,238 $4,660
Nursing home (semi-private) $8,616 $8,578
Source: Seniorliving.org, Genworth’s 2017 Cost of Care Survey
Nevonne McDaniels: 664-7151