September 23, 2019

Veterans home expansion OK’d Additions also planned for Bangor, Caribou sites

AUGUSTA – Officials at the Maine Veterans’ Home hope to begin construction of a 30-bed residential care facility in the spring.

The addition to the home’s building on Cony Road would be for people suffering from early stage dementia.

The project needed approval from the city’s zoning appeals board because its site is near freshwater wetlands. The zoning board granted a variance from the usual 75-foot setback requirement.

The plans call for a retaining wall to minimize the project’s impact on the wetlands.

Officials hope to begin moving in six to 10 months after construction begins. When completed, the $2.2 million, one-story addition will be linked to the building by an enclosed walkway, according to Steven Gaudette, chief executive officer for the state’s five veterans homes.

The home already has 120 beds for long-term care and skilled-care patients.

“We will be having more availability for veterans who are aging,” said Rosanne Tousignant, the home’s administrator.

Most of the current residents are World War II veterans in their 80s. Others are Vietnam-era veterans.

The Augusta home is the oldest of the five. There are also 120-bed facilities in Scarborough and Bangor, a 90-bed facility in South Paris and a 40-bed facility in Caribou. Thirty-bed additions offering residential care are planned for Scarborough, Bangor and Caribou.

Officials at the home also want to renovate the facility, which opened in May 1983. Gaudette said staff members had started preparing paperwork for that project, which requires a certificate of need from the state.

Veterans and their spouses are eligible to be patients of the Maine Veterans’ Home. The space for spouses is limited to 25 percent of the beds.

Gold Star parents also are eligible for admission. These are parents of active duty military people who died while fighting for the country.

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