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New memory care facility to be constructed on island

A rendering of Madrona facility. - photo courtesy of Cihan Anisoglu
A rendering of Madrona facility.
— image credit: photo courtesy of Cihan Anisoglu

Three local men are proving they have not forgotten how to care for their elders.

The Madrona House, a new assisted living facility, is set to break ground this month. It will also offer specialized memory care — a considerable need for island residents that is more specialized than the assisted living commonly offered on the island.

Architect Cihan Anisoglu experienced the problem first-hand. He realized how important memory care is when his father began suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Anisoglu placed his father in an assisted living facility on Bainbridge Island, but he found that the need to address his father’s failing memory were greater than what basic assisted living could provide.

He then moved him to the one memory care facility on the island, but still found it difficult.

“It was really hard to go there,” Anisoglu said. “It was this big institutional place.”

After his father passed away, Anisoglu didn’t abandon his thoughts about the need for more specialized memory care.

“Because I had gone through that with my dad, it was really, really hard,” Anisoglu said. “I was thinking there has got to be better way.”

He began speaking with friends Rolph Hogger and Don Roose. Hogger is a local contractor. Roose owns Bainbridge Senior Living, which runs assisted living centers on the island. He manages the business with his daughter Morgan Rohrbach.

“Cihan put this meeting together and we started talking about another assisted living facility,” Roose said. “The more we got into it, the more we were drawn to memory care.”

What the three men discovered was a considerable need for memory care on Bainbridge Island.

“What we found is that there was a huge demand, even bigger than we thought,” Anisoglu said.

Roose has known this for a while. He has seen families move their loved ones off-island to get the care they need.

“In my existing facilities, we have no memory care, we have a lot of residents who should be in memory care, but we aren’t equipped to do that,” Roose said. “For several years now we have been losing residents off-island where they do have quality memory care.”

Bainbridge is an aging population. The number of residents ages 45 to 64 is 50 percent higher than the national average, while the number of islanders over the age of 85 is 25 percent higher than the national average.

The need for assisted living is high among an aging population, but the need for memory care is so specific that it is difficult to find on the island.

That is how the Madrona house began. After four years of planning, the $14 million dollar project is ready to break ground at the corner of Madison Avenue and New Brooklyn Road — across the street from the island’s fire station.

The four-story facility will offer 46,482 square feet of space, with 21 assisted living units on the first two floors and 30 memory care units on the top two floors.

When finished, the facility will create 45 new jobs when a new staff is brought aboard.

Anisoglu designed the building himself. The outside of the building will have the appearance of separate structures to create a less institutional feel.

“I looked at the design from a user’s standpoint rather than an architect standpoint,” Anisoglu said.

It was important for the architect to incorporate emerging knowledge of memory care into his design. The facility will be broken up into four memory care “neighborhoods” that will house 12 to 16 residents each.

Each neighborhood will provide private residences as well as public living rooms and dining rooms.

“It doesn’t feel like an institution when you go there,” Anisoglu said. “A lot of this is for the care of the residents but also for the family members to be able to visit them in a more conducive environment.”

The three partners even took into account the recent power outages on the island and incorporated a generator that will provide full power to the memory facility. so that residents’ lives will be uninterrupted when the lights go out.

Once completed next summer, the facility will immediately begin taking in residents.

“A lot of this has been a labor of love for me,” Anisoglu said. “It was such a hard experience going through that time, and anything you can do to improve it can make a lot of people’s lives better.”

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