To help rectify feelings of isolation that seniors may have started experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic, developers are looking to open an assisted living facility in Algonquin that has a residential feel and a visiting room made specifically to account for COVID-19 concerns.
Called Pathways Homes Senior Living, the proposed development, which includes three senior living facilities, would be at the southwest corner of Huntington Drive and Stonegate Road, according to village documents.
With 16 beds in each facility, residents could choose to live in one of 12 private rooms or in one of the two additional semi-private rooms, developers said. Spouses, for example, could opt for the semi-private rooms.
These three facilities combined would have 42 rooms and 48 beds, with dedicated areas for activities, dining, a kitchen, salon, laundry and a living room and private bathroom in each room.
Staff would be at the facility 24/7, and each building would have an apartment above it so staff could sleep there overnight, according to the pitch made to village officials Tuesday night.
The developers, Peter Nelson and Bruce Johnson, who came in front of Algonquin’s Committee of the Whole to present the plan have parents who have aged, Johnson said.
In 2016, Nelson and Johnson came up with the idea for a homier place for seniors to live. Their vision was solidified as they saw the additional issues that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson said.
Because the older population is especially vulnerable to complications from COVID-19, assisted living facilities and nursing homes had to restrict visitors and put social distancing guidelines in place to prevent spreading the highly infectious virus.
Even in the best-case scenarios, where residents on the first floor of these facilities could see their loved ones through windows, a lot of seniors still were isolated during the pandemic, Johnson said.
With this in mind, Nelson and Johnson said they wanted to build a place that addressed the issues that came with the COVID-19 lockdown.
To do this, a room with direct access to the outdoors for when people visit residents is planned for Pathways.
The specifics of the room still need to be worked out, Nelson said after the meeting, but there will be a physical separation between visitors and residents.
When the pandemic ends, the room could be used as a flex space for multiple purposes, including more normal family gatherings, Nelson said.
Developers emphasized that although employees will be at the facility to assist residents at all times, they want people to feel as if this is their home, with common living and dining areas and a shared kitchen space.
“If they want to go and bake cookies in the afternoon, they’ve got someone that can help them at the oven, that can help prep things,” Johnson said.
As far as a timeline for construction, Nelson said, the development team is looking to break ground in the spring.
Part of the development team’s goal is for Pathways to blend into the surrounding buildings, Nelson said, and they are sensitive to the residences around the proposed assisted living facility.
“We want this to look like it’s part of the neighborhood,” Nelson said.
Another part of the developers’ plans includes detached single-family homes along Huntington Drive. Johnson said they are continuing to pursue a builder for these homes.
Plans for Pathways Homes Senior Living still are conceptual, and changes could be made to them before they officially receive approval from the Village Board.
On Tuesday, trustees were able to talk to developers about concerns and suggestions they had for the plans.
Trustee Bob Smith said the development likely would need more parking space. Developers said the majority of Pathways residents probably will not drive, but Smith said employees would.
“I think we have an opportunity here to have more parking spaces if we need to,” Johnson said in response.