Non-profit looks at Juneau for assisted living facility

The Juneau Pioneer Home offers some assisted living space, but the waiting list is long.

The CEO of a large non-profit organization that operates senior housing across the country is looking at Juneau as a possible site for an assisted living center.

Retirement Housing Foundation offers services for older adults, people with disabilities and low-income families in 170 communities, but none in Alaska.   A Juneau group developing an assisted living center proposal contacted RHF.

Sioux Douglas of Juneau Community Foundation is hopeful the company could become part of a public / private partnership for a facility.

“We don’t know a lot yet about their expectations and the various ways they have invested in communities across the nation.  That’s part of the reason for the site visit, and to enlighten them on the things that could be possible here and the challenges,” she said. “It’s more expensive to operate here. It’s more expensive to build here.  That’s why I’m so hopeful that we can find donated land.”

Douglas outlined the effort for an assisted living home Thursday to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.

The Community Foundation, Juneau Commission on Aging, Juneau Economic Development Corporation and Senior Citizens Support Services are spearheading the quest.

A kick-off meeting last month brought out more than 120 people and about half said they would be interested in serving on a senior-housing task force.

That list is being whittled down. Douglas said the first job of the task force will be to identify land for a facility.

“You know my dream would be that we would have that figured out by the time our first visitor comes up to check Juneau out.  I doubt if we can move that quickly, but if anybody is listening and wants to contact me with a few acres of land we’ll be happy to talk,” she said, with a chuckle.

Douglas has been talking to the city and borough, private land trusts and others who could offer a site.

An assisted living facility was the top concern identified by senior citizens responding to a 2010 Juneau Commission on Aging Survey.  Such facilities are an intermediate level of care for people who need help with medications, meals, housekeeping, and other daily routines, but not nursing care.

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