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  • Jordan D. Smith

The Brook Retirement Community Prepares to Welcome Residents

In a few short months, The Brook of Portland will open their doors to welcome residents into their new assisted living and independent living senior apartments. The new facility on Rindelhaven Commons off of Rowe Avenue in Portland is being developed by The Brook Retirement Communities headquartered in Gaylord, which operates 13 retirement communities across Michigan. They began building their Portland location last summer and are also about to open another new facility in Rogers City.

As previously reported in the Beacon, the project got off to a bit of a rocky start a little more than a year ago. There were concerns from neighbors and competing businesses, and then a bureaucratic snafu involving proper notification of the planning commission meeting. Those worries are far behind now, as the project is nearing completion with a projected opening on September 1st. Unlike nearly everything else, construction on the project did not grind to a halt in early March due to COVID-19 since assisted living facilities were classified as an essential business.

According to Brook Vice President of Marketing Kimberly Pappas, “we’ve had delays in the supply chain for the [project] but remain within 60 days of the anticipated original opening date. Our contractors have been working diligently to make this happen.” While construction is not yet finished, Pappas says that they anticipate welcoming residents moving in immediately upon their opening in September despite the ongoing pandemic. “The safety and well-being of our staff and residents is our top priority. We have been practicing best practices for all of our sites since the day we opened our first site in 2002,” she said.

The new retirement property boasts 42 apartments. Twenty are for seniors looking for an independent living setting and have a full kitchen. These apartments come in both 1 bedroom ( 624 sq feet) and 2 bedroom (884 sq feet) options. The facility also includes 22 affordable assisted living apartments for seniors needing more support. These units have a kitchenette and include meal service. Assisted living units come in both studio style (416 sq feet), and 1 bedroom (624 sq feet) layouts.

The sprawling 4 wing building is close to the commercial district and I-96. Pappas says that the location is no accident. At all of their locations across the state, The Brook seeks to locate in a country setting near town so residents can have convenient access to local businesses and amenities. In looking to build a new location they studied over 100 communities across the state and chose Portland as an area with an unmet need for senior housing options that allow seniors to “age in place.” In fact, according to Pappas, many residents at their other locations across the state are longtime residents of their communities or else moved there to be closer to family as they choose to move into an assisted or independent living setting.

Unlike some senior living facilities, The Brook emphasizes residents furnishing their own living space to help retain those connections to memories and a sense of home. Unlike a home setting through the Brook is staffed 24 hours a day and all apartments feature emergency pull cords. Residents can also opt for an emergency call pendant they wear depending on their needs. Recreational activities including a billiard room, craft room, salon, and library are available for all, and there are lounges in all four wings as well as the central common area near the dining room. In addition, they offer a variety of services for assisted living residents including housekeeping, and personal hygiene care. According to Pappas, they really tailor their services to the needs and wants of the individual resident. Full information about accommodations, amenities, services, and pricing is available at their website.

Staff are available to help manage medication regimens and monitoring of health conditions in coordination with a resident’s physician. While the facility is not staffed by a physician, it does have a private office for doctors and nurse practitioners to visit and see their patients onsite as needed. Pappas says that the new Sparrow facility being built in Portland was a draw in choosing the city and they actively work to help residents to coordinate their health needs with health providers.

Pappas tells the Beacon that they are currently hiring staff for the new facility and are specifically looking for: personal care aides, nurses, maintenance support, cooks, housekeeping, and an activities coordinator. She says they anticipate hiring 20-25 staff for the Portland location. Positions offer competitive wages, benefits, on-the-job training, and flexible schedules. More information on available positions can be found at their employment opportunities page. In addition, Pappas says that the company is committed to sourcing support services locally and are, “currently seeking vendors for lawn care, snow removal and other services too.”

“We’re ready. We’re here to stay and serve the public and the community of Portland,” says Pappas. The Brook will be holding informational one-on-one one meetings at Olivera’s Restaurant in Portland July 23rd and 30th. To learn more and RSVP contact Diana Olsen at 616-862-0841. In August, they will also begin private tours for prospective residents once the finishing touches are put on the new facility. To schedule a tour call 989-745-6500.

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