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Forestview aims to expand for resident needs

May 14, 2009
MEREDITH — To help keep residents in their homes, Forestview Manor sought approval from the Planning Board last month to expand their facility and add more rooms.

During the course of recent economic conditions, several residents encountered their own financial difficulties, according to Forestview Manor Assisted Living President and Owner, Anne-Marie van der Velde. Some residents, with savings invested in stocks, saw "savings cut in half." The family members of some other residents found themselves in their own financial squeeze, and unable to support their family at Forestview Manor.

"We're trying to do everything we can to allow them to stay," said van der Velde. "My feeling, and that of the staff, is that we are committed to help them (the residents) stay."

To keep their residents, and to allow in more who might have financial difficulties, van der Velde and the staff at Forestview Manor worked on the idea for expanding the facility. They settled on the idea of expansions to two of the three residential buildings. The Meredith Planning Board approved the expansion plans at the latest meeting, though Forestview Manor will need to review its septic system with the Department of Environmental Services and return to the Planning Board for an issue on land area coverage.

Forestview Manor currently hosts 60 residents in their buildings, with 60 private rooms. The expansions would add eight additional rooms to the facility, rooms that would accommodate two residents, raising Forestview Manor's population to 76. The rooms would be available at a reduced rate, or to those with Medicaid.

Since news of the expansion broke after the facility's meeting with the Meredith Planning Board, van der Velde said the phone had been "ringing off the hook" with inquiries from people about the reduced rate rooms.

"We were contacted earlier by the nephew of one of our residents they didn't think they'd be able to keep her here," said van der Velde. "I called him about this, and he was so excited. Her friends rallied and put together two more months of funding so she could stay with us through the expansion and stay on Medicaid. She sees this as home, and we see her as part of our family."

An added benefit of the construction is that it will give residents an area in which to work and enjoy the outdoors. Van der Velde said the extensions had been planned in such a way as to create a courtyard area for two of the residential buildings. She said that the hope was that residents can utilize the courtyards to plant gardens and flowers.

Along with this, the facility is planning another outdoor area for residents an enclosed walking path that they can walk around.

"It's much more soothing for our residents with memory loss to complete a circle," said van der Velde. "With the expansion, we'll be able to create a continual path so they don't have to stop. It seems to be very helpful for our residents to have things like that."

If all goes as planned, Forestview Manor hopes to break ground later this month, with completion anticipated for early fall. Van der Velde said that the expansion would be planned so as not to interfere with the lives of residents.

Martin Lord Osman
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