ShareThis Page

SeniorLIFE will open in Hempfield

| Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Grace DiLeone and her daughter, Angela Jana, look over materials at the ceremonial opening of the SeniorLIFE Center in Hempfield.

Eric Schmadel  |  Tribune-Review

Jan. 10, 2013
Grace DiLeone and her daughter, Angela Jana, look over materials at the ceremonial opening of the SeniorLIFE Center in Hempfield. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review Jan. 10, 2013
Occupational therapist Corrine Lantz, left, of Plum Boro and physical therapist Linda Miller of Acme share a laugh in the therapy room at the grand opening of the Senior Life Center on January 10, 2013 in Hempfield Township.
Eric Schmadel  |  Tribune-Review
Occupational therapist Corrine Lantz, left, of Plum Boro and physical therapist Linda Miller of Acme share a laugh in the therapy room at the grand opening of the Senior Life Center on January 10, 2013 in Hempfield Township. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review

Hazel Adams said she felt at home while visiting the new SeniorLIFE center in Hempfield, and the ceremonial grand opening event wasn't even over.

“Senior LIFE has settled a fear within me of what could happen in the future,” said Adams, 90, who lives alone in her apartment at the former Troutman Building in downtown Greensburg.

“I like my apartment. I can walk to my church and my bank,” said Adams, who appears decades younger and uses a cane for balance while walking.

“Anyone with any amount of independence wouldn't want to go to a two-room place in a nursing home,” she said.

There are 250 openings available at the new center on Triangle Drive, between Aldi's and Primanti Bros., just off Route 30 and East Pittsburgh Street, east of Greensburg.

About 200 people attended an opening ceremony on Jan. 10 for the facility that will offer comprehensive support services to sustain independence among seniors, including an adult day care center.

State inspectors did a walk-through last week and, once approval for occupancy is granted, the center hopes to sign up members and be up and running by Feb. 1, officials said.

The center, the company's sixth full-service facility in Pennsylvania, is a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, with provider status for Medicare and Medicaid services.

Adams' daughters, Peggy Sterner and Dana George, both of Greensburg, accompanied their mother to the opening. Adams heard about the center during a company presentation at her apartment building.

“This is something that's needed. I like that they are preparing for us baby boomers,” Sterner said.

The new building has two day rooms, including one that is secure for cognitive-impaired seniors, and features bright, spacious hallways with exam rooms, nursing stations, full bathrooms and laundry facilities.

“I like the idea of someone coordinating all my mom's doctors, treatments and medications,” George said.

Another visitor, Grace DiLeone, 77, a former Arthur Murray show girl who had been living in Hempfield Towers, is interested in SeniorLIFE after suffering through a stroke and pneumonia in the last year.

“I'm so happy this place is here,” said DiLeone, who is quite spry, despite having lung disease from being a smoker since she was 9 years old. “This place has everything I need.”

Her daughter, Angela Jana, said her husband purchased a townhouse at Academy Heights Apartments, near Hannastown Country Club, for her mother.

“When she was sicker she couldn't cook,” Jana said. “Now my mother can cook, but has trouble cleaning up.”

Right now, Jana said her sister does their mother's food shopping and the Westmoreland County Area Agency on Aging pays for a housekeeper to come in two hours a week.

Ray DuCoeur, the administrator for the county Area Agency on Aging, said his office will be working with the new center.

“This will be a good option for people,” DuCoeur said at the event last week. “They can call us and say they are interested in SeniorLIFE.”

Celeste Fischer, regional outreach coordinator for the centers, said members usually do not have to pay for services.

“It is completely free for 98 percent of seniors,” Fischer said.

“This program helps seniors stay in their home,” said Gina Graciano, director of business development. “Most people qualify and don't realize this. We can help people determine their financial eligibility.

“The member gets their own registered nurse, we have a physician on staff, we pay for hospitalizations, and everything is handled under one roof,” Graciano said. “We're thinking the slots will fill up fast.”

Dr. Roger Zioncheck, medical director of SeniorLIFE, said the program gives another option besides the family doing everything until it's time for hospice care or a family member going straight from a hospital to a nursing home.

“Not only will we work to keep people out of the nursing homes, but we improve the quality of life,” Zioncheck said.

SeniorLIFE centers first opened in 2006 and include three satellite day care sites in rural areas.

“I see a transformation in members in a very short time,” said Mark Irwin, chief operating officer.

Local officials participated in last week's event at the Hempfield center.

“What a fabulous facility this is,” county Commissioner Chuck Anderson said. “This center is another example of moving forward economically with the addition of 100 new jobs.”

“It seems like a few short weeks ago when we were breaking ground,” Commissioner Tyler Courtney said. “We're glad to have this facility. ... It will fill some gaps.”

“I never thought I'd be excited to become a senior citizen myself,” Commissioner Ted Kopas said. “The people here (at the center) are genuinely excited to be here and I know they will be a tremendous asset.”

Rose Domenick is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.