Highland Estates to provide independent living for seniors | nnbw.com

Highland Estates to provide independent living for seniors

Rob Sabo

Construction of the 93-room Highland Estates senior apartments at Ruby Vista Drive will go a long way to providing Elko-area senior citizens with more housing options, says Laurie Hassen, administrator for Highland Manor and Highland Inn.

When completed near the start of 2011, the new three-story independent-living facility will join the new 35-room Highland Inn assisted living center, which opened in June, and 112-room Highland Manor skilled nursing facility to form the largest senior-living campus within several hundred miles.

And for Elko County seniors, the expansion provides a third option for people who don’t require assisted living or skilled nursing care. The 93-unit building will have mostly single-bedroom apartments, but there also will be two-bedroom units available.

Build It Homes is general contractor for Highland Estates. The entire building will be made handicapped-accessible and will have one of the few elevators in Elko. Once open, Highland Estates will eliminate lengthy waiting lists for Elko’s few senior apartments. Hassen says waiting lists for independent living for seniors in Elko County can take as long as 12 to 18 months for a room to become available.

“There is a huge demand in Elko County,” Hassan says. “Our seniors citizen can’t find a place to live without being on a waiting list. And they can’t do an ordinary apartment unless it has an elevator.”

Highland Estates already has 30 people signed on to live at the facility once it opens. Highland Inn, which opened at the start of the summer, already has 28 of its 35 beds filled. The development of the senior housing center has not only given more rooms for Elko County seniors but simplified their living arrangements as well.

“What we are finding is that a lot of people will have a fall at home, and they will have to start coming into our skilled facility to get rehabilitation. When they are ready to go home, they don’t have a space to return to.

“They don’t need the quality of care we give them, but they don’t have a place without stairs where they can safely get around. By having a campus, it makes it so that they can still live independently. It adds more independency to our senior population.”

Hassan doesn’t expect to have any challenges staffing the new facility because she won’t be required to hire any additional nurses for the independent living center.

She expects to need additional housekeepers to clean each floor, as well as additional kitchen staff to provide meals for the new residents.

Highland Manor and Highland Inn, which are owned by Desert Care Facilities of Galesburg, Illinois, employ about 150 people. The social aspects of the campus concept have helped draw new residents, Hassan says.

“I think people are starting to perceive a place to live up here as more of a positive option as compared to looking at it as a nursing home,” she says.