LEWISTON — Woodlands Senior Living is building a $6.5 million, 64-bed residential facility at 45 Mollison Way for people with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other memory impairments. 

The facility received Lewiston Planning Board approval last week and is under construction. It is slated to open in October 2015. 

“We’re excited to come to Lewiston,” said Matthew Walters, chief operating officer for Woodlands. “There’s not enough really, really good memory care facilities in Maine, so it’s both a need of a population and it’s a good business model for us because there is that need. We feel we do it well and we feel good about how we do it.”

Family owned and operated, Woodlands started in 1980 with a 39-bed boarding home in Hallowell. It now owns 10 facilities in five Maine towns, including Brewer, Cape Elizabeth, Hallowell, Rockland and Waterville. Lewiston will be its sixth facility dedicated to Alzheimer’s patients and others with dementia and impaired memory.

The 39,000-square foot facility will include 28 private rooms and 18 double rooms, with 36 beds dedicated to MaineCare recipients. The facility will be divided into two 32-bed neighborhoods, with each offering an open-air central atrium, an individually zoned climate control system for air conditioning and heat and home-like areas, such as a television room, reading room, activity room and home-style kitchen, for residents to gather.

The facility also will have a video monitoring system for safety, private bathrooms in all resident rooms and an outside courtyard with gardens and a gazebo.

Designed with Alzheimer’s patients in mind, it will feature two-way doors on the bathrooms so residents won’t feel trapped by a bathroom door they can’t open. Signs will offer pictures to give patients visual cues. And the hallways and the courtyard path will each loop so residents can walk without being stopped by a wall or closed door. 

“People with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have a tendency to want to wander, to walk. So people can come in and out in a secured environment,” Walters said.   

Although there will be group activities, the program will focus on residents as individuals. For one person who liked working outside, that could mean raking leaves in the courtyard, Walters said, while a former homemaker might prefer spending time in the residents’ kitchen.

“The idea is to keep people busy and engaged in whatever manner impacts them from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed,” Walters said. “Of course, that means something different to everybody. That’s part of our mission and goal, to reach the residents that we’re serving.”

The facility will employ 40 people full time. 

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This story was edited at 12:37 p.m. on Oct. 29 to correct the cost of the project.

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