Affordable housing more beneficial than assisted living

Barbara Sharp

The recent headline really grabbed my attention: “Proposed assisted living center could bring 70-80 jobs. Facility is one of the largest employment opportunities ever proposed for county.”

Being a retired healthcare provider, that piqued my interest as did the words “70-80 jobs.” To anyone living in a rural community this is music to the ears. However, after having read the article, I was left with many more questions than answers.

So perhaps someone would clarify/elaborate on the following assisted living questions/comments:

  1. Typically the types of services and amenities offered in an assisted living environment can vary greatly. What level of assisted living facility is being proposed? What kind of services would be provided? Any plan to include residential management and care for specific conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, or stroke?
  2. Who would fill these 70-80 positions? CNAs/medical technicians/registered nurses/practical nurses/medical director/facility administrator/cook/maintenance/activity director?
  3. What would be the ratio of caregivers (CNAs/medical technicians/registered nurses) to residents for each shift?
  4. Also, what does this statement mean, “Our ratio for employees (mostly young people) is more than the residents. So you’re talking 70 to 80 young people who would be working there around the clock”? I’m sorry, I’m not intentionally being obtuse, I just can’t make sense of this statement.
  5. Then, there’s the story as it is further elaborated on He (Mr. Lussi) describes the proposed site as ideal for prospective elderly residents and family members alike who would regularly come to visit. “This town is an incredible draw for assisted living,” says Lussi. Unlike an assisted living facility in a remote location, he explains, the senior care facility would have everything that the town of Washington has to offer right at its doorstep. “This is the best location in Virginia,” Lussi says. “The town is the attraction.” What is your definition of a remote location, and, what is the “everything” the Town of Washington, VA has to offer to a senior care facility? Would the residents be able to afford living there? Certainly there are wonderful shops, art galleries, a community theater, a library and three restaurants in a beautiful environs, but where’s the grocery store, the drug store, other entertainment or mall shopping? In which direction would you have to go, and how long would it take for you to get to one of these places should there be something you’d be needing? Is this even a consideration?

Looking past the phenomenal headline, I asked myself who would reap the greatest benefit from building an assisted living facility? Per the article(s), someone who has planned this “proposal” for years and just happens to be related by marriage to a successful local retired businessman, who happens to have some “ideal” property for sale?

Was this proposal being sweetened by the broker with “options” for a small museum honoring the owner’s successful businesses and a new post office for the town? Is this post office proposal the handy alternative plan in the event the post office site proposal, currently being reviewed by the Post Office authorities, is not acceptable?

Did John Sullivan, outgoing mayor of the town of Washington actually make this statement? ‘“And if it turns out the post office doesn’t like our idea I’m sure we’ll come back to you hand on knees saying how about your alternative,” said Sullivan.’

So as I see it, the headline promising 70-80 potential (minimum wage?) paying jobs is window dressing — cajoling us to look at how wonderful this all will be, look at how wonderful we are. Reading past the sensationalism, all this amounts to is someone making a profit in the Rappahannock County, good old boys, network.

Hey, I’m just a county resident who read the article and had questions. I have no problem with anyone making a dollar. It’s just that the story made me think and come to some conclusions. These observations have not been written with malice in mind. But really, don’t make the story about what this place would do for some 70-80 young county people, eventually. When all is said and done, is it is not about the bottom line?

Here’s an alternative for you, instead of an assisted living facility, why not consider selling the property and building affordable housing for the actual residents of Rappahannock County. There seems to be a need for this here, doesn’t it? Also, give our citizens somewhere to shop for “necessities” without having to find a ride or have a long drive to look forward to. Can the words Family Dollar be uttered aloud again in this county?

The writer lives in Huntly

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1 Comment

  1. First off, you don’t need a bigwig guy who lives on a luxury island where homes run from 1 to 3 million dollars, to build an assisted living center … UNLESS it’s going to be a luxury complex for only the wealthy politicians and attorneys who have settled in the county. Good luck if you’re just a local and want to put your granny in there! You won’t even be able to afford a bath towel for her to dry off on!
    Rapphannock county is becoming nothing but a bit big resort for the rich and this will be part of it. If you all don’t see that, then you’re blind. Don’t expect anything to be built in the county that doesn’t benefit the rich.
    Here’s an idea for the county, and watch how fast it’s denied, because the rich people here won’t benefit from it:
    1. A place where farmers can buy off-road diesel for their tractors so they don’t have to drive all the way to another county? Nearest places are over the mountain to Luray or Front Royal, or to Warrenton or Madison and Culpeper. Not one off-road diesel pump in this county that claims to be agriculture friendly!
    (off-road diesel is for ag use only, it’s not taxed as high as on-road diesel for trucks)
    Anyway, Ms Sharp, the rich people who have come here won’t let you have affordable housing or your dollar store because they won’t benefit from it. They only want this to be a county where they can hang out, drink wine, whine and complain about politics, play golf, socialize, and continue only making additions here that help create their luxury playground.

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