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Rye facility to aid those suffering memory loss

Union Leader Correspondent

October 25. 2012 11:34PM

While Sanctuary Care at Rye will not open until late spring, the memory care facility will begin accepting applications in November after officials and business leaders, including from left, Kimberly Reed, Rye's Planning and Zoning Administrator; David Drolet, chair of the board of directors; U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) and Angela Pelletier, executive director for the facility; held a groundbreaking ceremony at 295 Lafayette Rd. Thursday morning. (John Quinn/Union Leader)

RYE - It's been seven years in the making, but a new memory care facility will allow families and residents to remain connected via the Internet when it opens next spring.

As construction continues at 295 Lafayette Road, a groundbreaking was held Thursday at the site of Sanctuary Care in Rye, a 56-unit memory care assisted-living residence.

U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H., who participated in the groundbreaking, said these facilities offer dignity for many older residents and comfort for their loved ones who must deal with memory care issues. 'This is a commitment to the elderly in our state,' he said.

While there are other similar facilities in the state, Angela Pelletier, executive director Sanctuary Care at Rye, said this is the first one on the Seacoast. She added it has the capacity to care for patients of all ages.

'Some people suffer dementia in their 30s after receiving a head injury,' Pelletier said.

About 5.4 million people in the nation are diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's, and numbers are expected to rise, Pelletier said.

As Jonathan McCoy, president and founder, was unable to attend because of an injury, David Drolet, who serves as board chairman, explained how McCoy's visionary project, which he began working on seven years ago, is finally coming to fruition.

'He's put his heart and soul in it,' Drolet said, adding the $13 million project was financed by Kennebunk Savings Bank.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Kimberly Reed said she worked with McCoy over the past two years as he finalized the location and design of the facility with town committees. 'The Town of Rye welcomes Sanctuary Care,' Reed said.

Drolet, who had to help care for a relative with dementia-related illness, said he became involved in the project after gaining an understanding of the hardships family members face. 'For me, this has become a mission of love,' he said.

Drolet said they chose members of WoodBine Senior Living, based in Maryland, to manage Sanctuary Care in Rye as a result of their abilities to run similar facilities.

Gloria Brock, one of WoodBine's managing partners, said a unique feature of the facility is the use of a secure Web-based program to help keep families connected. Family members will be to watch videos of loved ones participating in activities.

'They will be able to share their experiences and check in on them,' Brock said.

Brock said Sanctuary Care and WoodBine attempt to keep costs reasonable, which is important since care for patients with Alzheimer's requires more resources than regular assisted-living facilities.

Brock said it will cost $4,000 to $8,000 a month for patients to stay at the new facility, which she said is comparable to similar facilities and less than the cost of a nursing home, which is in the range of $12,000 per month.

As a result of compartmentalized management of the facilities, Woodbine keeps administrative overhead low and costs reasonable, Brock said.

'We have the ability to help some (families),' Brock said, adding they work with families who have financial difficulties.

While Sanctuary Care of Rye is expected to open in May, Brock said they will begin accepting applications from a mobile office outside the property mid-November and begin interviewing potential employees in January.

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John Quinn may be reached at

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