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Zelienople senior living facility to give residents 'sense of normalcy'

| Saturday, May 3, 2014, 5:45 p.m.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
The north entrance of the new Lutheran Senior Life Passavant Community in Zelienople on Friday, April 25, 2014.

Lutheran SeniorLife Passavant Community in Zelienople will open the doors to its $57 million expansion in June, marking a change in name and what officials hope is a change in the culture of senior life.

Formerly known as Passavant Retirement Community, the project gives seniors opportunities to enrich the body, mind and spirit, said David Fenoglietto, president and CEO of Lutheran SeniorLife.

“The word ‘retirement' does not create the sense of engagement in lifestyle that we hope to have in our communities. ... We aren't putting folks aside,” he said.

The work includes building a 223,767-square-foot Abundant Life Center, tearing down the 107-year-old Olde Main building, which housed nursing and personal care residents, and building 10 residential cottages, said Ann Mutmansky, director of sales and marketing.

The Abundant Life Center will house 20 apartments, 34 personal-care apartments and 102 nursing residents spread throughout six households. A community open house is planned for June 5. Residents begin moving in June 22.

An internal Main Street hallway on the first floor features many of the things a real small-town Main Street does. There's a coffee and ice cream shop, indoor and outdoor dining and gathering areas, a creative arts studio, a library, a beauty salon and barber, a business center, music room, wellness and fitness center and conference center.

A chapel, adult day care, clinic and therapy gym are on the second floor.

Outside each personal care and nursing resident's room are shadowboxes to be filled with photos and personal notes to remind staff and visitors who lives there.

“This isn't a room number or diagnosis, it's a person with a past and a future,” Mutmansky said.

As part of the expansion, Lutheran SeniorLife Passavant Community is hiring eight certified nursing assistants and two nurses, Mutmansky said.

In the skilled nursing and personal care sections, communal gathering spaces have been added and many of the traditional institutional trappings replaced. Decorative sconces outside residents' rooms double as call lights by flashing when the call switch is activated inside the room, Mutmansky said.

Medicine carts have been replaced with individual locked medicine cabinets disguised by a small wooden door in the entryway of each nursing and personal care room.

Nurses have keys to the cabinets, and patients can take their medication according to their schedule rather than whenever the medicine cart rolls around, said Passavant Community Executive Director Laura Roy.

“The culture change movement is about putting the control and the voice back to where it should be, and that is in the voice of the elder and giving them a sense of normalcy,” Roy said.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or

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