With a snip and unfurling of blue ribbon, a facility Manning officials say fills an important need in the community, celebrated its grand opening Thursday.
Char-Mac Assisted Living Center has welcomed residents since June 1 at its new Manning location and opened its doors this week for an open house and tours.
About 16 people live at the center right now, with three more moving in soon. A total of 36 apartments are available — 30 studio apartments, and six one-bedroom apartments, which are mostly full. Program Director Tanner Chartier estimated about a $400 cost difference in base rent between the studio and one-bedroom apartments. Several adjoining studio apartments are structured so that a doorway can be opened up between them. Each apartment has individual temperature controls.
The center is structured so that all of the rooms have outside windows. Some offer views of IKM-Manning’s school buildings and football field.
“The views off this side of the building are just amazing,” Chartier said during a tour Thursday.
Cost plans vary widely because of the variety of services available to residents, and staff members discuss those costs in detail with anyone who requests a tour, Office Manager Noah McNaughton said.
The facility includes a movie theater with a large screen, popcorn machine and about 20 seats, a hair salon, a laundry room, an activity center, a large dining room as well as a smaller, private dining area, an open living room-type area, outdoor patio seating and more. Each apartment has a bathroom, and there are also public bathrooms available, but a separate large bathroom includes a whirlpool for residents who want to use it.
The activity room is used for exercise, TV and snacking. Residents also work on crafts there and recently tried Wii bowling for the first time.
The center washes residents’ towels and sheets each week and offers weekly personal laundry services for those who choose to include that in their package.
“We find we typically do the guys’ laundry and about 50 percent of the women’s laundry,” Chartier said.
The facility serves three meals a day to residents — a continental-style breakfast, a hearty lunch and a lighter dinner with soups, salads and sandwiches. Visitors can eat with residents in the private dining room and pay $7 a meal.
Gospel singer Jill Miller, who lives in Sioux City, sang for residents and visitors Thursday, at one point asking a nearby table of women if they like Dolly Parton before launching into a poignant rendition of “Jolene.”
Chartier’s family was involved in creating the centers, spurred in part because of Chartier’s grandmother’s Alzheimer’s disease. Char-Mac also has centers in Holstein and Lawton.
Now, Chartier is entrenched in the company.
“I’m the guy people come to with problems,” he joked.
Staff members work several shifts throughout the day and night, in addition to nurses, administrators and kitchen staff.
The staff members want residents to treat the center as their home — even if that means leaving the center at 6 a.m. and not returning until 11 p.m., as one resident did this week, Chartier said with a laugh.
“This is home,” he said. “Use it like you would your own home. Have guests over. This is your home.”
Although Manning offers nursing-home services with the Manning Plaza, it hasn’t had services for people who aren’t quite ready to move into a nursing home but can no longer live on their own. That previously had meant some residents were leaving the area, Manning City Administrator Dawn Rohe said.
“It’s been a hole — it’s been a need for a really long time,” she said. “It’s nice to have it filled. And it helps us keep people here.”
City officials are happy that Char-Mac is the company providing the services, she added.
“They have an amazing reputation in the communities they’re in,” she said. “We’re really excited the level of care will be so high. This isn’t a fly-by-night company. They really care.”
Ron Reischl, board president of Main Street Manning, agreed the business is a vital one for Manning, noting that in addition to providing needed housing for older Manning residents, the facility’s existence also opens up housing throughout the city as residents sell their homes and move into the Char-Mac center. It also provides needed medical services that the city previously did not have available for people who are between living independently and needing a nursing home.
“Manning is working hard to be a full-service community,” Reischl said.
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