Proposed senior village could centralize aging needs, officials say

Proposed senior village could centralize aging needs, officials say

GEORGETOWN, Del. - A solution to address the increasing aging population and needs of seniors in Sussex County may come in the form of a new village center.

The CHEER Life Care Village is a senior-centric community proposed to be built in Georgetown, serving about 500 senior residents.

Ed Rahme, an architect with Think Architecture, says the village would sit on the roughly 35 acres of land owned by CHEER and adjacent to its existing Georgetown center along Route 9 and Sand Hill Road.

"Sussex County is kind of the new Florida, for elder care," says Rahme. "It used to be that people would move south but now, people seem to be gathering in southern Delaware."

CHEER provides services to seniors in Sussex County including home health care, transportation, housing, and nutrition programs.

Marketing director Anthony DelFranco says this has been something they've wanted to do for years with the number of seniors in Sussex County growing at an exponential rate.

"By 2030, they estimate that of the entire state of Delaware," DelFranco tells 47ABC. "40 percent will be in Sussex County." 

DelFranco says one major benefit of this proposed center is the centralizing of available resources in one residential village.

If approved, the village would include independent and assisted-living units built around a mini-downtown area. It would also feature shops and medical services, among other amenities.

Rahme admits the proposed village has a long way to go with multiple moving parts in the process.

He tells 47ABC, they're currently working with civil engineers to lay out the site and eyeing factors like storm water drainage. They also have plans of collaboration with other state agencies before they can project the total estimated cost.

"We're working with DelDot because we do need access off of Sand Hill Road, so all of these kind of initial preliminary meetings will lead up to submitting the plan to Georgetown to get a preliminary approval," explains Rahme.

DelFranco says the age limit for residents to live in the proposed center would likely be 50 and older; however, they don't have set age limits as of right now, since it's very early in the planning process. 

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