Heritage House to add Alzheimer's facility

While most companies are having a tough go of it in the current downturned economy, Buckley’s Heritage House is going to be refurbishing the existing facility as well as expanding to accommodate a new category of residents.

Peggy Jensen, a licensed practical nurse serving her fourth year as administrator of the 40-unit facility, explained that while a 37-unit addition will be built adjacent to the existing facility along state Route 410, the new space will involve an entirely different type of care.

Jensen noted there is an ever-growing need to care for those with Alzheimer’s disease and facilities to house such patients while furnishing professional, medical and compassionate care, are limited in western Washington.

“Already, and in the not so distant future, the need for dementia care is going to reach epic proportions,” she said.

Conversely, Jensen said, there are a preponderance of places like Heritage House, which houses primarily Plateau residents ranging in age from 58 to 104.

Jensen said there is never a dearth of socializing or physical activities and the seniors’ days are filled with things to do, often in conjunction with the Bonney Lake Senior Center.

When Heritage House isn’t sharing its van to pick up passengers from BLSC and trek to Fred Meyer and Walmart on shopping junkets, there are excursions to the Muckleshoot Casino and ball games. To pass the cold and rainy Northwest winter days indoors, there is bingo, visiting musical bands entertaining, arts and crafts seminars, monthly birthday parties and countless other social pastimes, in which participation is encouraged.

Although there is help available from the Veteran’s Administration, the Department of Social and Health Services and long-term health insurance, the cost of residing at an assisted living facility can be pricey.

At Heritage House, the base rate for a large studio apartment is a bit more than $2,400 per month. Jensen is quick to point out this covers three hot and healthy meals a day, weekly housekeeping, laundry services, additional transportation, private post office boxes and numerous other services.

The Caring Places Management Company, based in Forest Grove, Ore., is providing the financial backing to upgrade Heritage House with new carpeting, paint, fixtures, etc., and construct the adjacent 37-unit memory care facility. The total amount budgeted for these two projects is $8.2 million and both should be nearing completion before November.


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