Local and national nonprofits collaborate to care for Southwest Florida seniors

Senior people watching televison together

Volunteers of America, Hope Healthcare and Lee Health are collaborating to address Lee County’s need for more skilled nursing, transitional care and assisted living beds. It’s an alliance of venerable non-profit healthcare providers with a history of improving services for area residents and visitors.

“The No. 1 reason for acute care discharge delays within the Lee Health system is a lack of access to skilled nursing beds,” said David Cato, chief administrative officer of Outpatient Services for Lee Health, the third largest non-profit public health system in the U.S.

As a leader in senior living communities for more than 120 years throughout the U.S. and 30 years at Gulf Coast Village in Cape Coral, Volunteers of America was the logical choice to partner with Hope Hospice to address the problem.

“Over the years, we have been working closely with local care providers, including Lee Health and Hope Healthcare, on strategies to meet the growing needs of Lee County’s seniors,” said Kevin Ahmadi, area director of operations for Volunteers of America.

With the vision of developing a medical mixed-use campus that would provide comprehensive services, Hope Healthcare bought 46 acres south of Gulf Coast Hospital in 2010. When completed, Hope Preserve will be a convenient, walkable campus offering diverse medical facilities that will also include a hotel and medical offices, as well as coffee shops, restaurants, and gift stores.

“While envisioning the ideal Hope Preserve campus, we knew it was important to include partners that would complement our mission to improve the quality of life for people who are frail, aging or coping with serious illnesses,” said Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope Healthcare.

The first project under construction is The Preserve, a 3-story, 118,000-square-foot community with 21 assisted living apartments, 17 memory support suites and 75 skilled nursing suites for senior residents with specialized or advanced health care needs. Developed by Volunteers of America, The Preserve is expected to open in June at the northeast corner of Six Miles Cypress Parkway and Plantation Road.

Resident units will be designed around four “neighborhoods,” each offering its own social, dining and staff support areas. A dedicated memory support neighborhood will cater specifically to residents with dementia needing a secured living setting in addition to 24/7 medical assistance.

Construction of The Preserve is the first step for Hope Preserve, which will also house Hope Healthcare’s Center of Hope.

The campus will include a state-of-the-art hospice house, community bereavement center, Parkinson Program Center and PACE Care Center, an all-inclusive care center for the elderly, with an adult day center, medical clinic, occupational health, physical therapy, memory space and healing outdoor spaces.

It’s all part of one of the area’s first medical mixed-use projects that will include retail, hospitality, and other uses with diverse senior medical services unrivaled in Southwest Florida.

“We are eagerly looking forward to celebrating additional site developments in the future,” Beckwith said. “The Center for Hope ensures that exceptional care will be provided to everyone who needs our help, the moment they need us, for generations to come.”

The Preserve Information Center is open on-site for reservations for assisted living and memory support suites. Contact Rachel Henderson, director of sales & marketing rhenderson2@voa.org or 239-574-0078.