It’s about creating the memories

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Courtney Maksimowicz (left), administrator for the Avamere Court at Keizer Memory Court under construction, talks with Vern Howe after a tour of the facility June 27. Vern’s sister suffers from dementia and might get moved to the new facility. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Courtney Maksimowicz (left), administrator for the Avamere Court at Keizer Memory Court under construction, talks with Vern Howe after a tour of the facility June 27. Vern’s sister suffers from dementia and might get moved to the new facility. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

In some ways, the new Avamere Court at Keizer Memory Court facility is a mirror image.

The $7.8 million facility, located at 450 Claggett Court N behind St. Edward Catholic Church and looking at the back of McNary High School, is set to open this fall. The Keizertimes was given a tour of the facility on June 27 by Courtney Maksimowicz, the facility administrator.

The facility is being built specifically for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It’s estimated by the Alzheimer’s Association more than five million Americans currently live with dementia, a figure expected to increase 40 percent by 2025.

The new Keizer facility features 48 private suites, each with their own private bathroom.

“The building has two pods with 24 rooms each,” Maksimowicz said. “Each room has its own HVAC system. The building has four neighborhoods, each with its own theme. It gives patients a sense of home. The patients have a lot of sensory needs.”

Maksimowicz said the four neighborhood themes are Beach, Cascades, Farm and Garden and World Traveler.

“We really want this to feel like home,” she said. “We want to make it feel like home and to nurture memories.”

The floor plan shows a building with two nearly identical looking pods. The layout is the same, including matching courtyards, rooms arranged in the same way and amenities like the dining rooms and activity rooms matching. The non-replicated parts are in the middle of the building, where there are spaces for things such as a conference room, a salon and a staff area.

Ground was broken last November and the road behind the church to the facility was one of the first parts of the project to be completed. CB/Two Architects designed the building and Meili Construction is doing the construction. Maksimowicz is anticipating an October opening for the facility, located a short distance from the current Avamere Court campus on River Road.

Services offered include supportive care, social activities, a spa bathing suite, restaurant-style dining, call assistance pendants and secured grounds.

Maksimowicz noted the activity rooms should be plenty busy.

“The activity rooms on each side will have four to six activities a day,” she said.

Linda and Vern Howe went on a tour of the facility last week as well. Vern’s sister Marjorie, who suffers from dementia, has been at the Avamere facility on River Road for a year.

“We have not made the determination if she’ll go into this facility yet,” Linda said. “But I was very impressed. I was impressed with the rooms, the bathrooms not having to be shared, the windows in each room and the locked doors. You never know when they will try to walk out.”

Each prospective resident will be evaluated. Appointments for evaluation can be made by calling 503-393-3624.

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