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ComfortCare Homes Expands To Northwest Wichita.

In honor of its 25th anniversary this year, ComfortCare Homes tells the WBJ it will break ground soon on two custom homes in northwest Wichita designed for those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The fast-growing Wichita-based company had originally planned to build a new Home Plus residence in Derby, but ComfortCare President Doug Stark said he decided to look in west Wichita instead.

“We just decided that we wanted to build two homes at once instead of one,” Stark said.

The two, 12-bedroom homes will go up near 29th Street and Tyler Road. Construction begins later this month.

When ComfortCare launched in 1993, Charles and Lou Stark developed the idea to move dementia care out of institutions and into professionally staffed neighborhood residences. The new model of long-term care became recognized as an assisted-care licensed category in Kansas called HomePlus, which is now regulated by the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

“We don’t have facilities, we have homes,” Stark said. “The whole idea was taking somebody who’s thoroughly confused and not putting them in a very foreign, hospital-looking facility.”

The company traditionally converts existing, single-family homes and turns them into the Home Plus residences. ComfortCare has six homes with seven to nine residents tucked into neighborhoods across Wichita, along with several other homes licensed across the state — in Kansas City, Pittsburg, Baldwin City, Ottawa and Newton.

The company also developed an advanced memory care home called Founders Crest in 2014 near 21st Street and Woodlawn.

Its latest expansion is to build new.

“After 25 years of taking existing single-family homes and retrofitting them by moving this wall, moving this wall, adding a room, we just figured out what we consider the ideal layout,” Stark said.

The two northwest Wichita homes, which will be tucked back behind the Casey’s at 29th and Tyler, will have 12 private bedrooms and bathrooms so that each resident will have his or her own space, Stark said. They will be staffed 24/7 by a trained caregiver.

The homes will overlook a lake that borders the adjacent Fossil Rim neighborhood. The property will have walking paths for residents to wander and other outdoor spaces, said ComfortCare spokesperson Robert Miller.

“It reduces anxieties and behaviors when they feel like they’re just living naturally,” Miller said.

The project, expected to cost about $2.75 million, should finish in May 2020, Miller said. ACCEL Construction is the contractor and Tom Compton of Compton & Associates is the architect. Pam Fruhauf of Finishing Effects is the interior designer.

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