EBENSBURG - For more than a century, Cambria Care Center's property has been home for the region's nursing home care needy.
A section of the former Laurel Crest Rehabilitation & Special Care Center is now home for those who want to avoid it.
SeniorLIFE officially opened its doors in Ebensburg this week to residents in Cambria, Blair and Indiana counties who are state qualified for nursing home facilities but are well enough to stay at home with help.
"We're providing all-inclusive care for the elderly," SeniorLIFE CEO Mark Irwin said.
The group's second location in Cambria County and fifth overall, the center will be able to provide in-house and at-home services for up to 250 people, Director Chrissy Dambeck said.
The company expects to employ more than 75 people, once the new center is fully up and running.
"Just because someone qualifies to be in a nursing home doesn't mean they want to be," SeniorLIFE Outreach Coordinator Kelli Moss said Thursday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. "That's why we're here."
The Ebensburg site was added because Johnstown's facility has reached maximum capacity with about 175 members, officials said.
SeniorLIFE partners with groups like Cambria County Area Agency on Aging and provides varied skilled services for medically qualified, oftentimes Medicare- or Medical Assistance-eligible, residents ages 55 and older, staff said.
Before programs like theirs came into the picture, the only alternative was long-term nursing home care, Moss said.
Those admitted into the program are transported to the 12,000 square-foot center several days a week, depending on their needs, where SeniorLIFE offers medication distribution services, assessment and exam rooms for x-rays, blood draws, wound care and routine checkups, she said.
An exercise room for speech, occupational and physical therapy is available. A full-time physician is at the center, but members can continue to use their own physician as well.
"But every resident is different," Moss said, noting some receive help with daily living activities at home, including grooming assistance and light housekeeping.
Cambria County Commissioner Sam Valenty credited the program's success.
"They are definitely a welcome addition because they are serving the needs of a special segment of our population," Valenty said.
Mirror Staff Writer David Hurst is at 946-7457.