Upscale assisted-living community opens - East Valley Tribune: News

Upscale assisted-living community opens

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Posted: Friday, May 22, 2009 8:01 pm | Updated: 2:27 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A gated, assisted-living community for seniors accustomed to upscale living is slowly emerging in far northeast Mesa.

The first phase of Crismon Peaks Assisted & Independent Living Community is open and includes one home that can house 10 residents in individual rooms. The 7.5-acre community is located on Crismon Road north of Brown Road and is being developed by Joe Rubanow, his sister, Meryl Schmitz, and brother-in-law, Matthew Schmitz.

Rubanow's company, Structural Technology Custom Homes LLC, had been building a "green," luxury home community in the area when the family realized the new-home market was headed for trouble. They decided to switch gears and develop a high-end assisted living community.

"My husband (Matthew Schmitz) is 33 years as a physical therapist ... and he's been providing geriatric care most of his 33 years and he loves it," Meryl Schmitz said. "So with his knowledge and Joe's building skill, and then I came out of 25 years of corporate experience, and with my business background to set up the infrastructure, we were able to go out to the community, go to the county and get approval to get this up and running."

Rubanow has built one assisted living home and two independent living homes. The assisted-living home, the Bridge Home, houses two residents and more are on the way, Meryl Schmitz said. The two other homes eventually will become multiple-resident assisted living homes, she said.

"They're individual homes that are individually licensed by the Arizona Department of Health Services, and then we go through the special use permit process," Schmitz said. "We're licensed by the Health Department to take Alzheimer's and dementia because we're a lockdown (facility)."

The monthly room rate is $4,000 per person, plus the cost of care. There are three levels of care: supervisory at $800 a month, personal at $1,300, and directive, the most comprehensive, at $1,800.

Mesa resident Sandy Gish moved her mother, Jean Trulock, to Crismon Peaks about two weeks ago. Trulock was living in San Diego and is in the latter stages of Alzheimer's, Gish said.

"Obviously she needs assisted living," she said. "She doesn't realize that she's made this move, she doesn't really care. She just knows that she's being really well taken care of. This is the type of housing situation that my mom's accustomed to, so I think ... the more commercial type of assisted living wouldn't be for her."

The multimillion-dollar Bridge Home includes a large community area, private areas for family, a game room, movie theater and large kitchen with full-time chef. It also features a central computer with Skype for face-to-face family contact. A beauty salon/barber shop is planned.

Crismon Peaks boasts eco-friendliness throughout the community. The Bridge Home includes sophisticated air purification, laundry purification and water purification systems, as well as natural pest control, environmentally friendly paint and insulation and eco-bedding that affords residents "a healthy sleep with our hypo-allergenic pillows."

"I had great concern about the toxicities that are in ... construction," Rubanow said. "From the foundation up, from the pad up, I try to go as non-toxic on materials and chemicals as I can."

Karen Barno, president of Arizona Assisting Living Association of America, said Crismon Peaks' use of technology and eco-friendliness make it unique among assisted living communities in the Valley.

"The whole population is starting to look to more environmentally sound buildings," she said.

The Bridge Home has a registered nurse and two licensed practical nurses on staff, Schmitz said.

"When everybody comes in, we have one of our nurses go out and do an intake assessment to make sure that we're the right fit for their parent and we can offer the highest level of care," she said.

Rubanow said he wants Crismon Peaks to be a place where residents will be proud to have family and friends stop by for a visit.

"You meet these people and it's well worth everything you do," Schmitz said. "You're adding quality to their life."

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