Wellspring has made a major commitment...
to the long-term needs of serving seniors in the Frankenmuth community. We know the needs of seniors are never “one-size-fits-all.” Because of that, Wellspring is focused on assuring that seniors and their families have the support, options and amenities they want — and need. In order to do this, it requires us to consider two major projects beginning in 2019:
- a new development for active seniors.
- an updated skilled nursing and rehab facility
Our skilled nursing facility has served the community well for nearly 50 years; it will require a significant (re)investment In order to position it to serve the next generation of seniors who require skilled nursing and rehab services. However, this only represents about 5% of seniors at any given time, so we have determined to develop active adult, senior housing as well, for a totally different segment of the senior community.
Planning is already well underway for both initiatives.
ACTIVE SENIOR COMMUNITY (E. Tuscola Project)
Our active adult senior community, while a big project, has a smoother path with respect to regulatory, zoning and other approvals. If all goes well, we hope to break ground in Summer 2019.
SKILLED NURSING & REHAB (Renovation)
Given the nature of the skilled nursing facility, with significant regulatory, licensure and fire code requirements, this project will likely take a little longer to get off the ground. We hope to begin our Phase 1 work in Fall 2019.
We will use social media to keep people informed, as well as formal communications that will go out from time to time as we reach important milestones.
ACTIVE SENIOR COMMUNITY
(E. Tuscola Project)
Can you describe your vision for the senior community and its purpose?
Today’s seniors are looking to live a much more active, healthy lifestyle well into their older years. Remember, 80 is the new 60! As a result, this will be Frankenmuth’s first and only specifically designed “active adult senior community.”
The community will feature three key components that all work together to aid in health and wellness while aging:
- DESIGN Care is taken in all design elements to assure the home itself will promote and support aging, even as needs may change in the future.
- AMENITIES & SERVICES These offerings will allow for an active and healthy lifestyle, along with supporting health and wellness should the need arise.
- TECHNOLOGY Technology will enable families to stay connected and support the needs of loved ones as they age.
Together, these three elements will provide a beautiful home that supports aging and allows “assisted living,” if ever needed, to be brought to the senior, rather than requiring another move.
Have you done a market study? What did the market study show as far as a demand for this type of community?
Frankenmuth is ahead of the curve in terms of seniors living in the community. Around 15 percent of the Michigan population is over 65. Frankenmuth, however, has a 65+ population closer to 30 percent.
That said, we are carefully planning to provide housing options for folks considered in the middle income for seniors. This will require careful design and building, but also some unique financial models that can make housing more affordable for seniors.
Why did you choose this location?
This location has the land necessary to offer several housing choices, all while being located near amenities offered In town. It will provide access to the northern shopping district without having to navigate the often busy tourist area of downtown.
Will this community be age-exclusive?
The community will be age restricted. It will likely be for those 60 and over for the primary homeowners/occupants
Are there any other communities like this in the region that this is being modeled after?
While there are plenty of “senior products” in and around Frankenmuth, they tend to be assisted living or skilled nursing — focused on the health care needs of seniors. And while there are plenty of condos and duplexes in town that are mainly owned/occupied by seniors, this will be the areas first development designed from the ground up with senior wellness in mind. Typically, you’d find this kind of development in more populated areas and big cities
Will the development be constructed in phases? If so, which phase will come first?
Once the initial site work is complete, we will be able to move simultaneously to offer duplexes and townhouses.
What are the different options for the community (Rent, own, rent-to-own, etc.)
In order to offer access for seniors of various incomes and financial circumstance, we are considering various options that would include ownership (condos), rental and some modified rental models. Our planning includes exploring these options with potential residents in order to better understand their wants and needs.
Will this be built like a true community with a clubhouse and activities?
The clubhouse will be the center of the community, where fellowship, wellness, education and various other life enriching activities will happen. The clubhouse will also be available for residents to use for large family gatherings if needed.
Will there be an HOA? What will be included with it?
There will be a homeowners association, with both dues and services to be determined as we better understand the ownership, rental and modified rental models under consideration.
Do you anticipate a waiting list? How soon can people sign up to find out more or take a tour if they are interested?
While it’s too early to know how strong demand will be, we do know there is a pent up need for this kind of housing and program for seniors in Frankenmuth. Once the actual “sales” process begins, we’ll have a better understanding of how quickly it will fill up.
Will there be walking paths that allow access to the adjacent public school grounds, and to Blessed Trinity Church?
Yes. We anticipate a walking path that will lead to the school area, as well as Memorial Park and the Band Shell.
What is the timeline for this project?
If everything goes as planned, we hope to break ground in Summer 2019.
SKILLED NURSING & REHAB
Are the plans still in place to renovate and expand the current skilled nursing facility in town or are those plans on hold due to the other project?
Plans are moving forward, under the leadership and guidance of a community-led Building Committee. Regulatory, licensing and fire protection requirements make this a very complicated project, but we continue to move forward with our planning with hopes of Phase 1 starting in Fall 2019.
From a timing aspect, why does this project seem to be taking so long to move forward?
Initially we began to look seriously at the needs of the facility around 2010. However, with the uncertainty in the health care system related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we determined to hold off in order to better understand the long-term implications of that new law, as it affected regulations, hospital relationships and provider payments. We’ve reached a point now that moving forward seems prudent.
The current facility is nearly 50 years old, and while it has held up well over those years, it will require a major “makeover” in order to assure it is well-positioned to serve for decades to come. It will be a big, expensive project, made more complicated by rebuilding essentially a new building around the core of the old one, all while still serving very frail seniors in the environment. This demands that we take all care in every step of the planning to assure a successful project.
What can you share with us about the current state of the facility?
The current facility, opened in 1969 as the result of a strong community effort, is now 50 years old. It has served us well, but the modern state of serving frail seniors has changed a great deal over those five decades. The core of the building is solid, and we’ll try to take advantage of that in our planning. However, much of the facility will require significant renovation — demolition in some areas — in order to provide future residents with state-of-the-art facilities and programs.
Are there other things (other than aesthetics) that would be updated in a renovation?
Much of this project will be far beyond “aesthetics” and will require extensive demolition and renovation. The project will also entail some new building that will tie into the existing facility.
What is your vision for the facility as we move toward the future?
Wellspring has committed to undertake this project in order to create a modern, cutting-edge skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility for — and with — the community.
We’ve also noted that the building itself is only part of the success for seniors and their families in the future. As a result, we’ve spent some time with our staff, board and community advisors developing a totally new approach to serving seniors that will encompass care for the whole family. When we serve a senior, we are privileged to serve multiple generations of that person’s family. In the future, the design of the building will support programs and services that support and honor the most important relationships in the lives of our seniors — their family!
What can you share about the national trends you are seeing when it comes to skilled nursing facilities and what it will look like in the future?
While counter-intuitive as our nation ages, we are actually seeing nursing home utilization (occupancy) and sheer number of nursing home beds decrease. This is a trend that started about 8-10 years ago, and is continuing into the future. As a result, we’re actually seeing nursing homes downsizing and even closing across our nation and state. Our project will actually decrease the number of our skilled licensed beds from 112 down to around 90.
This smaller, more focused facility will allow us to design for three very specific residents:
- Short-term Rehab Clients We see an ongoing need for short-term rehab clients who will be with us about 2 weeks on their way from the hospital back to their home.
- Long-term Residents We see a growing need for long-term residents whose physical needs require 24-hour intensive nursing oversight.
- Memory Support Residents We see a growing need for long-term placement for residents whose primary need is driven by memory loss, dementia, or perhaps Alzheimer’s and related diagnoses.
Fifty years ago, there was one type of resident. Now, we have three specialty groups that require different physical design, services, amenities and space.
Why did you decide to do the residential housing development first? I thought the nursing home was a bigger priority?
Both are a priority as they serve two totally different populations of seniors in our community. They will, however, move forward on slightly different timelines due to circumstances and conditions unique to both.
Are the plans already set for the skilled nursing facility or will you be asking stakeholders to participate in focus groups?
We’re in the early planning stages, working with our Community Building Committee and architects on a master plan. Once that is complete, we will host some opportunities for community members and other stakeholders to help shape our work.
Will you be doing a capital campaign for this project?
The original building included a strong effort of support from the community, which set the Lutheran Home up for decades of success. We know it will take that kind of effort again for us to meet — and exceed — all the needs and expectations of the community. Once we have the master plan complete, we’ll have a better understanding of the financial needs both from traditional financing and funds raised through a capital campaign.
What is your timeline to begin building? How long will a project like this take?
If all goes well, we could break ground on Phase 1 by Fall 2019. We anticipate this project will be at least three phases that will likely extend over the next four to five years.