Agape: New assisted living units in York going quickly

jbecknell@enquirerherald.comMay 20, 2014 

— Agape Senior’s 31 new assisted living apartments in York began filling up within days of opening, Agape CEO Scott Middleton said during a ribbon-cutting last week.

Middleton said Thursday that eight of the apartments were filled within the first week of opening. Agape Senior is a faith-based organization that provides integrated living services for seniors.

Middleton, a former United Methodist minister, said that when the agency opened a similar building in Rock Hill five years ago, the 80 units were filled within 30 days.

“If you know of anybody that is looking, they better come fast,” Middleton said during the ceremony, adding that he expects a waiting list to be started when the units are full.

The units, called The Villas, are 31 one-bedroom and studio independent living apartments, licensed for up to 43 occupants.

Pam Marion, events coordinator and community liaison, said the one-bedroom and studio apartment units are about 500 square feet each. Occupants can choose different levels of care depending on their needs, she said.

Middleton said the entire assisted living complex offers a total of about 1,000 square feet of space for each resident. That square footage includes the independent living areas and common areas such as the dining area and lobby.

He said the industry standard is around 500 to 550 square feet of both living space and common areas per resident.

“Most assisted livings are just a room,” Middleton said. The units at The Villas include a small kitchen area and, in some of the units, a separate bedroom. Each unit also has a bathroom, with features designed to make bathing easy.

“We’ve created this apartment-style living, and we’re the only ones in the state,” Middleton said. “When people enter care, and there are these large apartments like this, that’s why they fill up so fast.”

The new $5 million independent living facility is part of a campus that includes three existing buildings at 1020 N. Congress St., at the intersection of S.C. 5 and S.C. 49.

The property and the three existing buildings, previously called Yorktowne Village, was purchased by Agape in June 2012.

The existing buildings, which were renovated by Agape, hold up to 100 occupants in three levels of care: enhanced care 1 and 2 and a memory care unit for patients with dementia.

Agape has 11 assisted living sites in South Carolina, all with three levels of care. When the agency purchased Yorktowne Village, the independent living apartments were the only missing level, said Lindsay Davis, a senior solutions adviser.

The Villas are available for a monthly fee. Rates vary, Davis said, and the fee includes maintenance, utilities, three meals each day and a 24-hour staff.

During the opening ceremony, Mayor Eddie Lee acknowledged the need for such services for seniors. “We are excited to have this one in the city of York,” he said.

The Villas includes a large front lobby, a patio with sitting areas, a dining room, beauty salon and outpatient therapy for residents and members of the community.

Marion said residents can purchase furniture that is available for the units or bring their own. The building also includes a large second-floor common area, which is available for free to church groups or other community organizations that book in advance.

The Villas also has its own medical staff, including a physician and a nurse practitioner, and an on-site pharmacy.

Davis said other amenities offered by the facilities include an extensive life enrichment program.

Said Marion: “It’s kind of a one-stop shop for senior care.”

Jennifer Becknell •  803-329-4077

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