Assisted living center returns to Westminster

The Goldencrest Assisted Living home in Westminster closed in 2010 when its lease expired, but it hasn't taken Goldencrest owners long to return.

Beginning Wednesday, residents of the fourth Goldencrest Assisted Living home in Carroll County will begin moving in.

Goldencrest owner Kim Meekins said eight residents have already committed to live in the newest facility on Nelson Road in Westminster. The expectation is that the 16-person assisted living home will be filled by the end of December or January.

"We've been in business for 24 years, so we do have a very good name in the community and our reputation really good," Meekins said. "Our beds are full and they tend to stay full."

Goldencrest's first assisted living center was located on Fairfield Avenue in Westminster before it closed in 2010 when its 20-year lease expired.

"We always wanted to get back to Westminster," Goldencrest Executive Director Nancy Czajkowski said.

Meekins, who along with her husband Robert also own the three Goldencrest Assisted Living homes in Hampstead, said they are in the process of planning for a fifth location, but she declined to mention where it will be.

The demand for assisted living centers in Carroll is high, according to Gina Valentine, the Carroll County Bureau of Aging and Disabilities Services Supervisor.

According to the 2010 census, the population of people 65-years-old and older was 23,000.

By 2030, that number is expected to double, Valentine said.

Similar to the Field of Dreams "If you build it, they will come" philosophy, officials with Goldencrest Assisted Living centers in Carroll County are following the same train of thought when it comes to opening assisted living homes.

"We just get so many inquiries that that is what drives the need for the next facility," Czajkowski said.

There are currently 36 assisted living centers in Carroll, including Goldencrest's new Westminster location, with another in Taneytown expected to open in the near future, Valentine said.

The average age of a Goldencrest resident is around 85, Czajkowski said, although there are no age requirements to be a resident.

"There are very few occasions where somebody doesn't fit into the community that we have," Meekins said.

Czajkowski said the Goldencrest assisted living homes promote aging in place with care plans that evolve with a resident's needs.

"We have to be able to change what we're doing for that person in order to keep them continuing to age in place independently with assistance," she said.

In addition to having staff on site 24 hours a day, doctors, podiatrists, nurses, occupational therapists, speech therapists, hair dressers and eye doctors, among other specialists, visit the center on a regular basis.

"It's all very convenient," Czajkowski said.

Depending on a resident's needs, it could cost anywhere from $3,100 to $4,400 a month to live at Goldencrest, according to Czajkowski.

Valentine said costs at assisted living centers countywide range from $2,000 to $6,000 a month.

Meekins said Goldencrest stresses socialization with its residents and residents form a "real bond" with caregivers and other residents.

"It's because they were isolated and depressed at home," Meekins said. "Here we're geared for people their own age."

While Kim and Robert Meekins own the Goldencrest Assisted Living homes, family members fill many of the positions within the business, which Czajkowski said makes Goldencrest unique.

"We're very passionate about this business," she said. "You're going to get our personal attention every day."

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