Colonial Manor Homes is constructing a senior citizens home in Bel Air that town officials said is sorely needed.
The home will provide senior citizens with an assisted living arrangement that can't be found in the immediate area, said town Administrator Bill McFaul.
Because of its aging population, Bel Air needs alternative housing such as that, said Carol Deibel, the town's director of planning.
Census reports show senior citizens made up 10.8 percent of Bel Air's population in 1980, and 13.6 percent in 1990.
Ms. Deibel said town officials are pleased that Colonial Manor Homes retained a two-story white house at 144 Hickory Ave. Two wings are being added to complete the home, said Lynn Gardner, director of community relations for Colonial Manor Homes.
The house is designed to give residents older than 75 a place to live where they can get help with daily activities but still feel in control of their lives.
Assisted living is an alternative to a nursing home, Ms. Gardner said.
George Wentz, founder and president of Colonial Manor Homes, said he created those homes because he needed that kind of living arrangement for his
grandfather, who was widowed in 1986.
Mr. Wentz originally put his grandfather in a nursing home, he said. But after watching his grandfather's physical and mental health deteriorate rapidly, Mr. Wentz said he realized the need to place him in a "more stimulating, loving atmosphere."
He was unsuccessful in finding that, however.
"If I had found it, I wouldn't have started this business," Mr. Wentz said.
The Bel Air home will provide 15 residents with a library, activity room, dining room, kitchen, conference room, two recreation rooms and a wellness room.
The wellness room will be designed like a doctor's office, and provide physical and occupational therapy and other medical services, Ms. Gardner said.
Eight certified nurse's aides and one supervisor will work in the house, Ms. Gardner said. The staff will cook, clean, do laundry and provide activities to entertain residents.
The cost of living in the house will be $2,750 a month. Home health services will be provided through the University of Maryland's Bay Area Health Care Center, Ms. Gardner said.
Colonial Manor Homes currently has seven other locations, four still being built but scheduled to open within the year.
The original home that Mr. Wentz built with his grandfather in mind is in Linthicum Heights.
The Bel Air location will open Feb. 1, Ms. Gardner said. The Williams-Scotsman Construction Co. broke ground Sept. 1.