Health

Senior living boom: $34 million expansion at Cottage Grove Place nearly done

Three-story addition has 75 units ranging from independent living to skilled nursing

Sitting rooms are seen Aug. 29 inside the new addition at Cottage Grove Place in southeast Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids senior living center is close to completing its $34 million expansion project. The project adds 75 units in independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Sitting rooms are seen Aug. 29 inside the new addition at Cottage Grove Place in southeast Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids senior living center is close to completing its $34 million expansion project. The project adds 75 units in independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Construction on a two-year expansion project on a Cedar Rapids retirement community will be completed sometime this month, officials announced.

Cottage Grove Place expects to finish work soon on the $34 million project to expand its facilities, located off 2115 First Ave. SE, in response to growing demand.

With the number of older people projected to outnumber younger generations within a couple of decades, officials say they expect the need for their services only to grow.

“We’re getting ready for that age,” said Brian Kramer, director of marketing and sales for Cottage Grove Place.

The multimillion-dollar project included the construction of a three-story building with an additional 75 units in independent living, assisted living, assisted living memory care and skilled nursing.

The new units include 21 independent living homes, 24 assisted living units, 18 assisted living units specifically focused on memory care and 12 skilled nursing beds for rehabilitation purposes, Kramer said.

That’s in addition to the more than 230 existing units at the retirement community. Those include 162 one- and two-bedroom independent living apartments, 19 assisted living apartments and 52 units for skilled nursing with some rooms dedicated to “residents with Alzheimer’s or other age-related dementia,” according to the community’s website.

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The expansion project was announced in mid-2016 and officially started with a groundbreaking in March 2017.

All baby boomers — or those born between 1946 and 1964 — will be over the age of 65 by 2030. By that time, the number of older people will outnumber those under the age of 18 for the first time in U.S. history, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 national population projections.

Iowa is no exception to this trend. The State Data Center of Iowa projects there will be more than 670,000 people ages 65 and older by 2050, making up 19.5 percent of the state’s total population.

None of the services offered at Cottage Grove Place will change, but medical directors have been working to train all staff members to meet “higher acuity needs,” said Amber Taft, director of nursing. That includes wound care, giving IV injections and care for tracheostomies.

The skilled nursing facility is not limited to Cottage Grove residents and is open to anyone who needs skilled nursing and rehabilitation. These facilities are designed for patients who have been in the hospital for reasons such as injury or surgery, and are designed to help them get well enough to return home.

“The hospitals have a difficult time placing those residents, so we want to be that place where they go to,” Taft said.

Pam Bradley, assistant director of nursing at Cottage Grove Place, said if these patients aren’t rehabilitated in skilled nursing facilities, there is a higher chance of being rehospitalized.

“That’s our goal here, to get them here, get them home and not be rehospitalized,” Bradley said. “If you don’t have the staff trained to do that, then you’re more likely to end up back in the hospital.”

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Cottage Grove Place was founded in 1996 through the effort of Scottish-Rite Masons in the Cedar Rapids area.

The continuing care retirement community offers LifeCare, an investment plan that provides residents unlimited access to the full continuum of on-site services. The plan follows the residents as they age from independent living and into memory care services or rehabilitation and skilled nursing.

Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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