Senior living study moves into next phase

Sandy River Company will explore the viability of building a new nursing care facility in Damariscotta.
Tue, 10/19/2021 - 8:30am

    The study to determine if a new nursing facility can be built in Damariscotta to accommodate and consolidate LincolnHealth’s nursing and skilled nursing services provided in Boothbay Harbor and Damariscotta has moved into the evaluation phase.

    Sandy River Company, a respected nursing home developer, agreed to LincolnHealth’s request for 60 days to communicate with interested audiences before it began its assessment of the project. That time has since passed, and Sandy River Company will soon begin its research to determine whether this project can and should move forward.

    LincolnHealth President Cindy Wade has been busy over the last two months speaking with groups, individuals, senior living residents, family members and others to share the reasoning behind this project and to answer questions.

    Years of inadequate reimbursement, staffing challenges, aging facilities and restrictive regulations have taken its toll on nursing home providers. Just this year, two homes have closed in Maine and three others have indicated the likelihood of shutting down.

    “We have been proactively assessing our options because we are committed to keeping nursing care and skilled nursing care in Lincoln County for years to come,’’ Wade said. “There are too many stories out there about nursing care residents being placed hours away from their family members. That’s simply not acceptable and we will do all we can to ensure that does not happen in our county.”

    Wade said she will continue open and transparent communications through all phases of this project. “It’s important that people understand the whys behind this study and that they have a chance to voice their concerns.”

    If built, the nursing and skilled nursing care provided at Cove’s Edge in Damariscotta and the Zimmerli Pavilion and Gregory Wing at St. Andrews Village will be consolidated in the new location. Sandy River Company will contract with North Country Associates to provide the services, and all current long-term care employees in good standing at LincolnHealth will be offered employment.

    Earlier this month, Sandy River Company began construction of a new nursing facility in Rockland. It will likely take 16-18 months for that project to be completed. Sandy River has built various types of senior living facilities in Maine, including nearby Camden and Belfast. It has also constructed several additional projects in Massachusetts and Delaware.