Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Laurel House, set to open soon, will offer a safe haven for temporarily displaced older adults

Area seniors in need of short-term emergency housing may soon find a safe haven at Laurel House, a new elder guest house owned and operated by Laurel Lake Retirement Community in Hudson. The facility is slated to open soon.

The guest house, originally built as a single-family home and located at 392 Boston Mills Road, immediately next door to Laurel Lake’s 150-acre campus, was acquired by the not-for-profit retirement community in 2005. It has been redesigned to provide comfortable, temporary housing for adults age 55 or older who must leave their homes due to unforeseen circumstances such as fire, structural damage, or sudden loss of income.

The new Laurel House will be one of only two elder shelter facilities in Northeast Ohio, and one of fewer than twenty in the United States.

"This is all about giving back to the community," said David A. Oster, Executive Director of Laurel Lake. "As an experienced provider of senior housing and services, Laurel Lake is uniquely positioned to offer this support to area seniors in need.

"Laurel House is a perfect example of Laurel Lake's commitment, and that of our sponsor, Catholic Healthcare Partners, to improve the health of the community with emphasis on people who are poor and under-served."

Although Hudson is regarded as one of Northeast Ohio’s most affluent communities, a recent American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that 4.6% of Hudson's citizens were living below the poverty level in 2008. In neighboring cities, the number of financially fragile households is even higher. This reflects a national trend that makes suburbia home to the largest and fastest growing population of people who live below the poverty line. There are 1.5 million more poor people living in suburbs than in big cities, according to a new Brookings Institution study released on January 20.

The new Laurel House will accommodate up to five residents at a time, for lengths of stay ranging from one to ninety days. Referrals will come from the Hudson Ministerial Association, the Area Agency on Aging and other entities. A licensed social worker will work with each guest to assess their needs and help them develop a long-term housing plan.

To be eligible, guests must be Summit County residents, at least 55 years of age, and able to live independently. While in residence, they will have private bedrooms and share the house amenities including a full kitchen, two bathrooms, living, dining and family rooms, laundry facilities and a patio. Guests may participate in selected activities, support groups, exercise and wellness programs, social and spiritual services offered by Laurel Lake during their stays.

For referrals or more information, please contact Kristin Keller, LSW, Community Resource Coordinator at 330-351-3280 or Kristin_Keller@hmis.org.

Laurel Lake Retirement Community offers a remarkable lifestyle choice for adults who wish to continue leading active lives filled with travel, fitness, volunteer, work, cultural and lifelong learning pursuits. To learn more about this not-for-profit continuing care retirement community offering multiple home styles within a 150-acre campus in historic Hudson, call 1-866-650-2100 or visit www.laurellake.org . Laurel Lake is a member of Catholic Healthcare Partners ( www.health-partners.org ).

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