09/30/13 – New $16 million skilled-nursing development opens to strong demand

September 30, 2013 (Bridgeton, Mo)Despite the fact that the average occupancy rate for skilled nursing homes in St. Louis County is 77.5 percent (with a slightly lower average of 74.2 percent statewide), the new $16 million Anna House located within The Sarah Community in Bridgeton, Mo., opened to 100 percent capacity. Now, nine months later, a waiting list of more than a dozen older adults remains. This success speaks to the demand for the facility and the unique care concept it has introduced to the St. Louis region.

The Anna House boasts the latest innovative care trends in skilled nursing homes, focusing on individualized care in a neighborhood concept. More specifically, the caretakers are committed to adapting to the needs, wants and desires of the older adults, instead of requiring them to adjust to institutionalized environments. Older adults get to actively participate in all decisions regarding their schedules and care, just like they were able to do when they lived independently in their own homes.

“Our residents get up when they want to get up, they eat when they want to eat, bathe when they want to bathe – bottom line, they get to call all of the shots regarding their care,” commented Ron Mantia, executive director of The Sarah Community. “While it may seem minimal, it is the little things that collectively add up to a sense of independence and control in seniors that translates into a completely different mindset. We are here to help older adults live their lives to the fullest, not live it for them.”

This concept of individualized care in a neighborhood setting was at the foundation of the development and build-out of the new, three-story, 70,000 square-foot facility which opened in December.

The Anna House is divided into six, separate, small households designed to hold 106 residents. There are four room floor plans available, including 18 shared rooms with two beds separated by a privacy wall with a window in each individual space and a shared bathroom; 24 Jack-and-Jill private rooms where each room is connected to another through a shared bathroom; 12 Companion Corner private rooms that open into large, shared space; and 22 Traditional Private rooms. The rooms were designed with careful consideration for resident’s privacy. Each room has a large living space, satellite TV, Wi-Fi and individual closets. Each of the six households have a complete kitchen and access to 24/7 food service. Older adults can also utilize screened-in porches, a courtyard, a chapel with a special sound system to aid those with hearing deficits, a spa, full service hair salon and more.

“The layout and design of the new Anna House was very intentional,” added Mantia. “The setup facilitates quieter environments, encourages cooking which creates normal household scents and so much more. It offers older adults the privacy they deserve and appreciate, while creating a welcoming environment filled with amenities, activities and the opportunity to engage with their neighbors as little or as much as they desire in small and large group settings. The project was awarded an Honorable Mention in Environments for Aging’s Spring 2013 Annual Showcase issue.”

Prior to construction, The Anna House was in a renovated rehabilitation wing of SSM DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton. The newly constructed site is located adjacent to the other homes within The Sarah Community. The Anna House is one of three homes that combine to form the continuum of care retirement community for physical, emotional and spiritual needs known as The Sarah Community, which is developed and managed by St. Andrew’s Management Services. The community is nestled next to SSM DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton and offers older adults access to retirement apartments, assisted living and skilled nursing care through the Naomi, Veronica and Anna Houses, respectively.

“At the Anna House, I can watch my food being prepared in front of me,” commented Mary Bennett, resident of Anna House. “They worked with me to make living here more functional for my needs.”

Construction of The Anna House was funded through tax exempt bonds. The project development team included St. Andrew’s Management Services, The Lawrence Group, Hercules Construction Management Company and BSI Constructors. Construction wrapped up three months ahead of schedule and the new community opened to residents in early December 2012. The Anna House employs 150 of the 290 Sarah Community employees.

The community’s chapel was completed with private funds as part of the project. It is comprised of natural materials, large windows to embrace the outdoors, seating for 200 and serves as the home church for the sisters and Catholic lay people who live at The Sarah Community. Residents are able to utilize the chapel to celebrate with family and friends for anniversary and jubilee Masses, funerals, prayer services and ecumenical services.

Veronica House resident, Sr. Antonice Backes, SSND,  commented, “When we all attend Mass together and pray together in the chapel, we can better help one another and share more of our lives through prayer.”

To learn more about The Anna House and the other houses within The Sarah Community call (314) 209 -8814.

The Sarah Community is a non-profit, continuum of care retirement community located in Bridgeton, Mo., that offers older adults access to retirement apartments, assisted living and skilled nursing care through the Naomi, Veronica and Anna Houses, respectively. It was founded in 1997 through the collaboration of five Catholic religious congregations including The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Fanciscan Sisters of Mary, Religious of the Sacred Heart, School Sisters of Notre Dame and the Sisters of Loretto. The Sarah Community was developed and is managed by St. Andrew’s Management Services. 

For more information, contact:

Kelly Harris, The Hauser Group. (314)436-9090

Ron Mantia, The Sarah Community. (314)209-8814