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Senior LIFE planning to move

Senior LIFE Altoona is planning to move from the Gable’s building downtown to a proposed $3 million building on 22 acres of vacant ground along Fairway Drive.

The city Zoning Hearing Board recently approved the project, because it met the criteria for a special exception for health services in an urban residential zone.

The Johnstown-based company hopes to complete the 15,000-square-foot, residential-style building — 3,000 square feet bigger than the current facility — by year’s end, according to Scott Sosso, the firm’s director of real estate.

The building will have a residential appearance, with a gable roof and stone siding, and there will be 79 parking spaces on the site — only three or four acres of which are usable, as it is on a plateau enlarged with fill in recent decades and adjacent to a ravine, according to Adam Long of Keller Engineers, a consultant for the company.

Senior LIFE is an operator of the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly — called the LIFE program in Pennsylvania — a Medicare- and Medicaid-approved initiative for people 55 and older that enables participants to continue living at home, instead of a long-term care facility, according to the Senior LIFE website.

The program provides social interaction, primary care services, medication, rehabilitation, home care and transportation for those who qualify financially, according to Sosso.

Most clients are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, Sosso said.

A county’s Area Agency on Aging needs to approve clients’ participation, according to Sosso.

The company provides the services free to the clients under contract with the state, Sosso said.

About 30 states participate in the program, he said.

There are about 60 staff members working out of the 6-year-old Gable’s location, which is at capacity, serving about 165 clients, Sosso said.

In the new building, the staff is likely to grow, and the clientele is likely to increase to more than 300, according to Sosso.

Senior Life has 12 locations, all in Pennsylvania, Sosso said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.

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