A new life for a Boothbay landmark will be discussed on Wednesday, Aug. 14 at Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours. ElderCare Network will present its plans to make Kenniston Hill Inn a community-wide setting to demonstrate comprehensive aging in place. The event is at Russell House at 5 p.m.
“We are responding to a community need,” Dr. Chip Teel, local physician, founder and board chair of ElderCare Network explained in an interview with the Boothbay Register. “There is broad interest and support for most people to stay in their homes as they age. But they struggle with how to do it. We plan to show them. ”
Teel said the board believes this is the right response to a community need and so decided it will use the house to demonstrate how to age in place.
The first floor will be remodeled with an elder-friendly floor plan to showcase state of the art equipment, adaptive devices, affordable maintenance and a host of solutions to the needs of those who want to stay at home as they age. This effort will also demonstrate products and services from area vendors and contractors.
Teel gave examples of wall ovens and countertops placed at the right height and appliances that are elder-friendly for the cognitively impaired. Help from technology will also be demonstrated with video conferencing so elders who no longer drive can stay linked into their social network and doctor appointments.
“We plan to demonstrate big and small aids to help people stay in their homes with gadgets, adaptive equipment and an interface with technology,” Teel said. “And the best and most affordable way to heat a home.”
The Network envisions the Inn as an educational resource with materials that can be touched and felt and a video library referencing what has worked for others. The second floor could be remodeled with affordable apartments for area workers, to provide income that would support the project.
Teel estimated the cost to remodel will be in the $500,000 to $600,000 range. With ElderCare Network providing the building and location, the organization hopes the idea is so compelling, funds can be raised in the community for the showcase house and to expand the Boothbay Green home from six units to eight.
“The community has been patient with us on the building,” he said. “We hope this plan will make the Inn a focal point for all things involving elder care in the community.”
This is not the first time ElderCare Network has stepped up to meet a community need involving the Inn. In December 2014, it agreed to serve as the Inn’s new location when community-wide fundraising saved the building from demolition.
Original plans were to move it to Boothbay Railway Village but the costs became prohibitive and a closer spot was needed quickly. ElderCare Network stepped in and accepted the building, placing it on the property it now shares with Boothbay Green.
ElderCare Network of Lincoln County has seven small distributed residences and has provided assisted living care for more than 500 elders over the last 20 years. For more information about its services and the Kenniston Hill Inn project, contact Sue Wilson at 449-7257, Susan Brackett at 633-3966, or Kathe Cheska at 563-2148.