As one door closed, another opened...
At West River Valley Senior Housing we host a vibrant community of elders in our independent living and assisted living apartments. Our 24-unit independent living housing truly has its own neighborhood feel, with the privacy and comfort of individual apartments and the camaraderie of supportive friends and neighbors nearby. Our 40-unit assisted living facility offers a caring and supportive atmosphere where the nurse-supervised care staff offers round-the-clock support so residents may maintain autonomous lifestyles while living safe and fulfilling lives.
To understand just how special our community is, our story starts at our grassroots inception. Upon the closing of Stratton House nursing home in 2002, West River Valley communities were concerned for the future welfare of elderly in the area. A team spearheaded by Grace Cottage Hospital performed an eldercare needs assessment and affirmed that there was a serious need for senior housing in the area. A Project Development Committee of 4 community members and 4 hospital board members was formulated to develop a business plan for a senior housing project. This committee would constitute the core of Valley Cares, Inc., which was incorporated in December 2004.
Site feasibility and financing for West River Valley Senior Housing began in spring/summer 2004. By 2006, we finished permitting and final design for a 24-unit independent living building and a 28-unit assisted living building. Construction began in November 2006 and was completed October 29, 2007. The building site was a little challenging due to the amount of bedrock, but the team did a commendable job. Our housing fits like a glove – on the site and in the community!
Due to the ongoing need, in 2013 we expanded West River Valley Senior Housing to include 12 additional apartments in a newly-constructed wing off of the assisted living building. These new apartments offer the flexibility of independent living with a supportive array of in-house services available for the 'what-ifs' of life.
Valley Cares' mission is to provide affordable housing and supportive services to the elderly residents of the West River Valley and surrounding communities. In addition to our housing, we provide home delivered meals to seniors in Athens, Brookline, Grafton, Newfane and Townshend through the Meals-on-Wheels program. Our homemakers provide general cleaning and home assistance to seniors in the community. We also have available a free lending library of durable medical equipment for any community member in need.
As a 501(c)3 charitable organization, Valley Cares is governed by a community-based board of directors which includes two resident members of our housing. Day-to-day operations of West River Valley Senior Housing are overseen by Valley Cares' Executive Director, JoAnne Blanchard. Together she and our nursing team - Health Services Director, Eileen Ogden, RN, and Nurse Supervisor, Mary Jo Dansereau, LPN - supervise staffing as well as the planning and provision of resident care and supportive services. As the Property Manager, Jen Gagliardi oversees property maintenance, leases, vacancies and waitlist management.