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Planning commission furthers Madonna Towers expansion plan

By Jeffrey Pieters

The Post-Bulletin

A 16-bed "memory care" expansion at Madonna Towers in northwest Rochester won preliminary approval on Wednesday from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

The expansion will add a wing on the northwest side of the Madonna Towers facility, containing 12 single rooms and two double rooms. The wing will be for elderly patients suffering from dementia.

"We’re trying to fill in the gaps where our continuing care falls short," said Mark Cairns, administrator and CEO for Madonna Living Community Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the care facility.

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"There’s really a need in our whole community for dementia care," Cairns said, noting a local population of more than 3,200 people who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. "We’re trying to fill that need," he said.

The expansion is to coincide with Madonna Towers’ 40th anniversary this year. Cairns said the $2.69 million facility will be "state of the art" for its architectural design and how it will be equipped. Besides patients’ rooms, the wing will include sitting areas, an activity room, a covered patio and a dining area.

A mission of the Benedictine Health System, Madonna Towers opened in 1967. Today, the facility provides care for nearly 230 people. It has 260 full-time, part-time and on-call employees and an annual budget of nearly $12 million.

What happened: Planning and Zoning Commission voted 7-0 for a special permit for a 16-bed "memory care" expansion at Madonna Towers.

Why it is important: Estimates are that more than 3,200 people in Rochester have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

What’s next: City council will vote on the expansion.

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