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Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire from NASCAR following 2017

Springfield senior care center expanding

Oakwood adding jobs, dementia care unit in Springfield.

Community Mercy Health Partners will expand its Oakwood Village facility to treat more seniors who have a growing need for rehabilitation and dementia care.

The expansion at 1500 Villa Road will include a 30-bed short-term transitional care unit to aid seniors who need care before returning to their home, and a 16-bed, secure assisted living memory care unit.

The project will also create an undetermined number of jobs.

“It shows economic recovery and the willingness to invest,” said Bryan Heck, the city’s planning and zoning administrator. “It will create both construction jobs and permanent, full-time jobs.”

Executive Director Jamie Houseman said a need exists in the community for Alzheimer’s and dementia care units. The organization also will offer programming for seniors with memory impairments.

“Illnesses like dementia are growing; they’re not going away,” Houseman said. “We need to be prepared to care for that.”

According to U.S. Census Data, the percentage of residents 65 and older in Clark County has increased as the overall population has dropped.

In 2000, 14.7 percent of Clark County’s more than 144,700 residents were older than 65. In 2012, 16.4 percent of the more than 137,200 residents were 65 and older, according to the Census.

Currently about 14.3 percent of Ohio’s population is 65 and older.

The facility currently has 86 skilled nursing care beds, and the expansion will increase that number to 116 beds. As part of the project, the therapy gym will also double in size.

Oakwood plans to break ground in September. Houseman estimated the expansion could take 12 to 18 months to complete.

“The proposed expansion will help Oakwood Village better meet the needs of their current residents and other seniors in the community,” CMHP spokesman Dave Lamb said.

Estimated costs for the project weren’t disclosed, but Houseman said it would be done in phases. The center remains in the initial planning stages, Houseman said, and still needs to be approved by the Ohio Department of Health.

Houseman couldn’t estimate the number of jobs the project will create, but said it will add positions such as nurses, and nursing assistant, dietary, housekeeping and activities personnel. Oakwood currently has 191 employees.

“Those are an absolute must to run the unit,” Houseman said.

The Springfield City Planning Board will review the expansion plans at 7 p.m. Monday.

Heck is recommending approval.

“We’re encouraged to see the investment going into the city of Springfield, both health-care and senior service providers,” Heck said. “We think it’s a good project.”

The transitional care unit, Houseman said, has been “in demand for quite some time.” The addition has been on her wish list for eight years, and has been seriously considered for the past two years.

“We’re excited it’s finally going to come to fruition,” she said.

Oakwood Village currently serves about 260 residents in independent, assisted, cottage and skilled units. It doesn’t have enough space to accommodate residents who need skilled care from area hospitals.

“This expansion gives us the opportunity to better serve our own residents, and to also meet the needs of people who are referred to us and need private rooms,” Houseman said. “We’ve really been lacking there. The project addresses both of those issues.”

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