Af­ford­able hous­ing more ben­e­fi­cial than as­sisted liv­ing

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT - BY BAR­BARA SHARP

The re­cent head­line re­ally grabbed my at­ten­tion: “Pro­posed as­sisted liv­ing cen­ter could bring 7080 jobs. Fa­cil­ity is one of the largest em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties ever pro­posed for county.”

Be­ing a re­tired health­care provider, that piqued my in­ter­est as did the words “70-80 jobs.” To any­one liv­ing in a ru­ral com­mu­nity this is mu­sic to the ears. How­ever, af­ter hav­ing read the ar­ti­cle, I was left with many more ques­tions than an­swers.

So per­haps some­one would clar­ify/ elab­o­rate on the fol­low­ing as­sisted liv­ing ques­tions/com­ments:

Typ­i­cally the types of ser­vices and ameni­ties of­fered in an as­sisted liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment can vary greatly. What level of as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­ity is be­ing pro­posed? What kind of ser­vices would be pro­vided? Any plan to in­clude res­i­den­tial man­age­ment and care for spe­cific con­di­tions, such as Alzheimer’s, De­men­tia, Parkin­son’s Dis­ease, or stroke?

Who would fill these 70-80 po­si­tions? CNAs/med­i­cal tech­ni­cians/ reg­is­tered nurses/prac­ti­cal nurses/ med­i­cal di­rec­tor/fa­cil­ity ad­min­is­tra­tor/ cook/main­te­nance/ac­tiv­ity di­rec­tor?

What would be the ra­tio of care­givers (CNAs/med­i­cal tech­ni­cians/ reg­is­tered nurses) to res­i­dents for each shift?

Also, what does this state­ment mean, “Our ra­tio for em­ploy­ees (mostly young peo­ple) is more than the res­i­dents. So you’re talk­ing 70 to 80 young peo­ple who would be work­ing there around the clock”? I’m sorry, I’m not in­ten­tion­ally be­ing ob­tuse, I just can’t make sense of this state­ment.

Then, there’s the story as it is fur­ther elab­o­rated on Rapp­news.com: He (Mr. Lussi) de­scribes the pro­posed site as ideal for prospec­tive elderly res­i­dents and fam­ily mem­bers alike who would reg­u­larly come to visit. “This town is an in­cred­i­ble draw for as­sisted liv­ing,” says Lussi. Un­like an as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­ity in a re­mote lo­ca­tion, he ex­plains, the se­nior care fa­cil­ity would have every­thing that the town of Wash­ing­ton has to of­fer right at its doorstep. “This is the best lo­ca­tion in Vir­ginia,” Lussi says. “The town is the at­trac­tion.” What is your def­i­ni­tion of a re­mote lo­ca­tion, and, what is the “every­thing” the Town of Wash­ing­ton, VA has to of­fer to a se­nior care fa­cil­ity? Would the res­i­dents be able to af­ford liv­ing there? Cer­tainly there are won­der­ful shops, art gal­leries, a com­mu­nity the­ater, a li­brary and three restau­rants in a beau­ti­ful en­vi­rons, but where’s the gro­cery store, the drug store, other en­ter­tain­ment or mall shop­ping? In which di­rec­tion would you have to go, and how long would it take for you to get to one of these places should there be some­thing you’d be need­ing? Is this even a con­sid­er­a­tion?

Look­ing past the phenom­e­nal head­line, I asked my­self who would reap the great­est ben­e­fit from build­ing an as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­ity? Per the ar­ti­cle(s), some­one who has planned this “pro­posal” for years and just hap­pens to be re­lated by mar­riage to a suc­cess­ful lo­cal re­tired busi­ness­man, who hap­pens to have some “ideal” prop­erty for sale?

Was this pro­posal be­ing sweet­ened by the bro­ker with “op­tions” for a small mu­seum hon­or­ing the owner’s suc­cess­ful busi­nesses and a new post of­fice for the town? Is this post of­fice pro­posal the handy al­ter­na­tive plan in the event the post of­fice site pro­posal, cur­rently be­ing re­viewed by the Post Of­fice au­thor­i­ties, is not ac­cept­able?

Did John Sul­li­van, out­go­ing mayor of the town of Wash­ing­ton ac­tu­ally make this state­ment? ‘“And if it turns out the post of­fice doesn’t like our idea I’m sure we’ll come back to you hand on knees say­ing how about your al­ter­na­tive,” said Sul­li­van.’

So as I see it, the head­line promis­ing 70-80 po­ten­tial (min­i­mum wage?) pay­ing jobs is win­dow dress­ing — ca­jol­ing us to look at how won­der­ful this all will be, look at how won­der­ful we are. Read­ing past the sen­sa­tion­al­ism, all this amounts to is some­one mak­ing a profit in the Rap­pa­han­nock County, good old boys, net­work.

Hey, I’m just a county res­i­dent who read the ar­ti­cle and had ques­tions. I have no prob­lem with any­one mak­ing a dol­lar. It’s just that the story made me think and come to some con­clu­sions. These ob­ser­va­tions have not been writ­ten with mal­ice in mind. But re­ally, don’t make the story about what this place would do for some 70-80 young county peo­ple, even­tu­ally. When all is said and done, is it is not about the bot­tom line?

Here’s an al­ter­na­tive for you, in­stead of an as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­ity, why not con­sider sell­ing the prop­erty and build­ing af­ford­able hous­ing for the ac­tual res­i­dents of Rap­pa­han­nock County. There seems to be a need for this here, doesn’t it? Also, give our cit­i­zens some­where to shop for “ne­ces­si­ties” with­out hav­ing to find a ride or have a long drive to look for­ward to. Can the words Fam­ily Dol­lar be ut­tered aloud again in this county?

The writer lives in Huntly

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