Hermiston
Guardian Angel Homes breaks ground on Alzheimer’s facility

Lauryn Frantz, center, turns over a shovel of dirt while her family and Guardian Angel Homes staff look on at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Alzheimer's facility in Hermiston Thursday.

Umatilla County is about to get its first state-endorsed memory care facility after Guardian Angel Homes Assisted Living broke ground on two new homes Thursday.

The 16-unit homes will provide specialized care for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“We’re so excited to roll forward with this,” Jennifer Baus said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Baus, her six siblings and her father Marty Frantz own several assisted living facilities in the Pacific Northwest, many of which specialize in memory care.

The new additions to Hermiston, built behind the current Guardian Angel Homes at 540 NW 12th St., will feature a Tuscan-style home and a Ranch home each with 16 bedroom/bathroom suites and a central residential-style kitchen, dining and living-room arrangement.

They will be staffed around-the-clock by nurses specially trained in Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

The project is slated to begin serving residents sometime during the fall.

Matthew Frantz said his family knows the importance of a simple, familiar layout for residents with deteriorating memories.

“The goal of these homes is to look and feel like a home,” he said.

His father built the family’s first care facility in 2000 for his own father.

“Grandpa passed away two months before it opened,” Matthew said.

That didn’t stop the Frantz family to continue to build facilities in under-served communities, however. Matthew said based on the interest in Guardian Angel Homes’ current arrangement there is “absolutely” a demand for more care facilities in Hermiston, especially focused on people with Alzheimer’s.

“That’s what really captures us and what we really love to do is the memory care, because we experienced that need in our own family,” he said.

The new homes are designed to meet the standards to receive a memory care endorsement from the state of Oregon, a first in Umatilla County.

Tyson Frantz told the community members gathered to watch the groundbreaking that the family put a lot of thought and care into designing their facilities and they were excited about the upcoming project.

“I think we’re building the very best in Hermiston,” he said.

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Contact Jade McDowell at jmcdowell@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.

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