Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correct the phone number to call to be placed on the E.W. Thompson Health and Rehabilitation Center waiting list.
It’s been about a year and a half since the announcement was made for a new senior care facility in Sedalia, and the E.W. Thompson Health and Rehabilitation Center isn’t far from opening its doors.
Located at 10th and Mitchell streets, the center features 60 beds with 36 designated for memory care residents, such as those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, said Dianne Simon, Vice President of Property Management for E.W. Thompson Inc./Thompson Hills Investment Corp. and the Sylvia G. Thompson Charitable Trust.
“Ms. Thompson directed her trustees to build a home for the elderly in Pettis County. We’ve expanded Sylvia G. Thompson numerous times already,” Simon said. “Our occupancy there is 100 percent and it has stayed 98 to 100 percent almost every year since 1992. We felt and see the need, we know of families who take their loved ones out of town because there’s no place here for them, and they’re concerned about (memory care residents) wandering off so they need specific care.
“The other 24 beds are Medicare-certified; Sylvia G. Thompson isn’t. That was another need the community had, for quality care in a beautiful environment as (Ms. Thompson) directed.”
The memory care portion of the building is split into three neighborhoods of 12 private rooms surrounding a large open area that includes a kitchen, dining area and living room area designed specially for memory care. For example, there will be several long, short cabinet/bookcases that will store things to keep the residents busy, such as towels to fold or scrapbooking items, Simon and the center’s Administrator Holly Doogs, MSN, RN, LNHA, explained. One thing you won’t find in the rooms are televisions; only one will be located in the living area.
“The whole space is designed to avoid distractions and over-stimulation,” Simon added.
“Also, we plan to have the residents prepare part of their meal in the kitchen on a daily basis,” Doogs added. “Whether it’s a side dish or dessert, so they will have that as part of their normal life routine. It also helps stimulate appetite to avoid the weight loss associated with Alzheimer’s.”
The rooms are individually decorated, with each neighborhood painted in different, but similar, calming colors.
During the Democrat’s tour, Simon pointed out the shadow boxes placed beside each room’s door. The residents will be able to decorate them and fill them with their favorite items, to not only personalize the space but to also help them recognize it’s their room.
The two other 12-room neighborhoods are set up in a similar manner for the other residents, without the memory care specifics. The center also includes an enclosed courtyard and a large room for physical therapy.
The new center isn’t just for the elderly. It will also house the Thompson Early Learning Center, which will allow employees of both E.W. Thompson and Sylvia G. Thompson centers a place to take their young children while they work.
“It will be a benefit for new and current employees,” Simon said. “It helps with retention and morale, and it will hopefully reduce absenteeism. … We know we’ll be operating it at a loss, but it’s a benefit we need to offer our employees.”
“(The kids) will also help the residents, as they’ll be involved in inter-generational activities,” Doogs added. “Research shows it’s good for kids and the elderly to have that interaction. We’re excited about that.”
Simon said an exact opening date hasn’t been set, as the center is still going through the certification process and the building isn’t quite finished.
While while it isn’t open, those who are interested in living at the center or have a loved one who qualifies can call 660-826-2118 to be put on a waiting list.
“One thing we’ve seen is people have to take their loved ones (who need specific care) out of town (for that care),” Simon said. “We want to be able to help bring them back home.”
Simon noted that the $8 million project, which includes construction, equipment and furniture, utilized local contractors as much as possible, with the exception of some specialized needs. The center has already started hiring, with all jobs paying higher than minimum wage.