September 2, 2021
Partnership Addresses Community Need for More Integrated Housing and Healthcare to Serve Aging Population
St. Peter's Health today announced plans to develop a senior living community in Helena. The local nonprofit healthcare system is working with Immanuel Living, a Kalispell-based Immanuel Lutheran Communities subsidiary, Sawgrass Partners and MMW Architects to design, finance, and construct the community. The proposed project will include independent and assisted living options as well as a memory care facility. The healthcare system is currently under a buy-sell agreement for land in Mountain View Meadows on Helena's eastside.
The US Census Bureau estimates that 30 percent of Montanans will be over 60 by 2030."We are excited to embark on this new project to fill an important and growing community need," said St. Peter's Health CEO Wade Johnson. "It’s heartbreaking that when many people in our community reach the point in their lives where independent living is no longer the best option for them, they aren’t able to stay close to their loved ones, in the place they’ve called home. Senior Living communities are growing in popularity around the country because they’re designed with the aging population in mind and include convenient, on-site access to health care and other amenities that make living independently more comfortable.”
The development of a senior living community is an emerging but growing trend for healthcare systems nationwide. It is one more way healthcare organizations can help patients improve and maintain their health outside of the clinic or hospital walls. "This is just one more way that we're expanding our integrated care model," said Johnson. "We recognize that factors outside of care received in a hospital or doctor's office determine the majority of someone's health - the food we eat, our housing, our access to transportation and our sense of community. That's why we're committed to developing a place that prioritizes things like open spaces, walking trails and communal areas, as well as access to medical care in or near the community itself. "
Immanuel Lutheran Communities and other project partners have extensive experience developing and operating senior living communities. In early August, the organization announced plans to build a new community in Libby, Mont. and is actively planning projects in Polson and Missoula, Mont. “We have been working with partners to construct and manage senior living communities for nearly ten years,” said Immanuel Lutheran President and CEO Jason Cronk. “Our values align with those of St. Peter’s. A good demonstration of this is the shared use of the word “loving” in our organizational values. Together, we plan to create and operate a community that is focused on our residents’ dignity, and treating everyone with loving-care and kindness.”
St. Peter's Health encourages anyone interested in learning more to visit www.sphealth.org/lifeplancommunity and fill out the interest form. (This is not a wait-list.) The organization partners plan to hold visioning meetings with prospective residents in fall 2021. Partners expect to begin taking reservation deposits in spring 2022.