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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Expansion of Fairview Healthcare in Hudson prepares to meet demand of ‘silver tsunami’

HUDSON – The first residents have moved into the expansion of a venerable Hudson assisted-living facility that specializes in caring for people with dementia – a facility targeting the state’s “silver tsunami” of an aging population that has fewer family members to care for them at home.

The additional 45 “memory care” suites for people with dementia and memory issues, as well as 13 units with a rehabilitation gym and facilities to help people transition out of the hospital quickly, have just opened at Fairview Healthcare, 203 Lowell Road. ...

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HUDSON – The first residents have moved into the expansion of a venerable Hudson assisted-living facility that specializes in caring for people with dementia – a facility targeting the state’s “silver tsunami” of an aging population that has fewer family members to care for them at home.

The additional 45 “memory care” suites for people with dementia and memory issues, as well as 13 units with a rehabilitation gym and facilities to help people transition out of the hospital quickly, have just opened at Fairview Healthcare, 203 Lowell Road.

An open house and ribbon cutting for what is being called The Inn at Fairview is slated for Sunday , although the first residents began moving in earlier this month. About one-third of the units are already spoken for, said Rosie Sampson, director of community relations for the facility.

The 36,000-square-foot expansion, which roughly doubled the size of the facility, has opened on time – although just barely, Sampson said.

“Winter was not kind to us – to any of us,” she said. “That caused a slight delay. But we said spring 2014, so we made it.”

Fairview opened in 1951 with 18 beds in a former home. It has expanded several times, notably with the 1996 opening of Laurel Place, an assisted-living community.

It had 101 beds before the expansion. The facility is expected to hire at least 35 more people because of the expansion, on top of roughly 175 who already work there.

A half-dozen years ago, the owners bought 3.6 acres of the former Hardy farm next door, eyeing future expansion. The old farmhouse was torn down in 2008.

The groundbreaking for the expansion drew not just town officials, but also health care officials, who pointed to the need the facility meets.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates 22,000 people in New Hampshire have Alzheimer’s, the most common reason for dementia in the elderly, and says the figure has risen 16 percent in the last dozen years.

Yet many live alone: James Wessler, president of the Alzheimer’s Association’s New Hampshire chapter said the federal Centers for Disease Control estimates 36 percent of people reporting early signs of memory issues have no family members.

New Hampshire is one of the three oldest states, with a higher percentage of people older than 65 than most of America – 13.6 percent of its population are seniors, compared, with 12.6 percent for the country as a whole.

A 2011 report from the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies titled “Silver Tsunami: Aging and the Health-Care System” warned that this situation would become worse as the enormous population of baby boomers enters retirement.

It said that in Hillsborough County, the percentage of the population older than 65 is expected to almost double in the next two decades, to 21 percent.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks on Twitter (@GraniteGeek).