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Caring for each other

SPRING VALLEY — The St. Bede campus is expanding to include an assisted living and memory care community for senior citizens.

Area officials and dignitaries attended a groundbreaking ceremony last week for the new Abbey Fields, a $13 million project to be located on the northwest corner of the St. Bede Academy campus just east of Spring Valley. Once completed next fall, RPM Management will oversee the project.

In his comments during the groundbreaking ceremony, RPM Management CEO/President Blair Minton described the new Abbey Fields as an exciting project not only for the city of Spring Valley but also for the entire region. Catering to senior citizens, ages 65 and older, the new facility will consist of 40 assisted living rooms for seniors who may require various levels of assistance with daily living activities like bathing, dressing and transferring. The new center will also have a special secured section of 22 memory care rooms to take care of those seniors who have a diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease or some form of dementia, he said.

In giving some background on the project, Minton said the Abbey Fields project has been near and dear to the heart of Dick Janko, of the Janko Financial Group who is partnering on the project with St. Bede and RPM Management. This is something Janko has envisioned for 30 years as a way to help St. Bede Academy and also the senior citizens in the area, Minton said.

Looking at the impact of Abbey Fields on the seniors, Minton said Abbey Fields will provide its residents with their five paramount needs: Safety, security, love, compassion and dignity. What will make this community truly special and nationally recognized will be its tremendous opportunities for keeping residents mentally and emotionally happy, he said.

The impact for St. Bede Academy? A percentage of the profits will go back to St.Bede to support the high school and the ministry they do, Minton said.

Another important impact of Abbey Fields is to coordinate relationships between the students of St. Bede and the people who live in Abbey Fields, Minton said. Students will work as volunteers at the community in close arrangement with the senior citizens, which will help the students learn about seniors, what it means to age and what it means to give back to the community, Minton said. Also, the seniors will have the opportunity to teach the students about love, compassion and dignity, and about what they've learned over 80 or 90 years.

In his comments at Thursday's groundbreaking, Abbot Phillip Davey said those working on the project all share the same vision, which is the mission of caring for each other and caring for people in need. Once completed, the students will learn from the seniors and the seniors will learn from the students, with residents possibly becoming like second grandparents to the kids.

Following his personal comments, the abbot led the group in a Rite of Blessing over Abbey Fields, saying in part, that the "good work we are beginning here should flow from our sense of mission as followers of Jesus and fill our hearts with gratitude and joy.
Whenever we look to serve the needs of our brothers and sisters, we are co-workers with God."

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.


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