New Senior Living Community is Pleased to Open its Doors

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Offers first-of-its-kind continuous care facility for senior citizens in New York State.

The community is geared to elders who appreciate living independently within a lively community, but who would also like occasional help with daily challenges, ranging from housekeeping and cooking to maintenance and driving services.

Camphill Ghent, Columbia County’s newest senior living community, is now open and operational. The 112-acre retirement housing located on Route 66, south of the Village of Chatham, is the first of its kind in the country. The complex offers a mix of living styles, and of people with and without special needs.

Camphill Ghent is more than simply another retirement-living option. It is a community that acknowledges that elders want the necessary support to continue to enjoy a meaningful and happy life. The community is geared to elders who appreciate living independently within a lively community, but who would also like occasional help with daily challenges, ranging from housekeeping and cooking to maintenance and driving services. The new community is also licensed to accommodate ambulatory adults who need more support, including 24-hour access to assistance and care. The community is open to all, irrespective of ability, disability, connection with Camphill, or not.

Chief Executive Officer John Baring said, "The concept for our community grew out of the need for greater care for the population of our Camphill Village in Copake, NY, which includes aging adults with developmental disabilities, as well as long-term co-workers who have lived, worked and socialized together for years. The concept soon expanded in recognition of the greater need among both the broader anthroposophical community and others from the surrounding area for a community-based, rural setting for elders."

The Camphill Copake village is as part of a greater, nationwide network of communities for adults with developmental disabilities, full-time residential volunteers (called coworkers) and their children who live together with those with special needs. There are 100 worldwide Camphill facilities; the one in Ghent is the first community dedicated to serving senior citizens.

The Camphill board supported the project based on the understanding that residents stay with the organization for life and need new facilities as they get older. The non-profit also wanted a place for its own retired employees to live. Camphill Village received $9.6 million in grants from the New York state Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law (HEAL) and additional funding from First Niagara Bank through tax exempt financing for $5.1 million through Columbia County Capital Resource Corp., and $6 million loan from Camphill Village Copake Foundation who also donated the land.

The overall mission of Camphill Ghent is inspired by the traditions and values of the worldwide Camphill movement: to care for, celebrate, embrace and honor the special strengths and needs of those in their elder years. The name, "Camphill Ghent, Elders in Community," was chosen because each member of the Community, whether disabled or gifted, has an opportunity to contribute to the lives of others and, likewise, to benefit from the experiences and endeavors of the others.

State of the Art Complex
The new $22 million dollar facility, completed in 2011 with additional room to grow, has 31 Independent Living units offering studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and townhouses, with rental fees starting at $1,100, including utilities. Twenty percent of the apartments are available to low-income elders with rents starting at $345.

The 29-bed "Adult Home" offers private rooms with baths for ambulatory adults who are in need of some assistance with daily activities. Residents are provided with three meals a day — prepared by a Culinary Institute of America chef with locally grown food whenever possible — as well as 24-hour access to help as needed. Up to 18 residents may be funded by Medicaid.

When elders are considering the benefits of downsizing their homes and simplifying their lives, Camphill Ghent offers various options. For those considering Independent Living, the community has 10 townhouses grouped together to facilitate neighborly, informal support and social interaction. The community also has 21 co-housing apartments located in three buildings that share common areas for social activities. Like the townhouses, the co-housing apartments have been designed to facilitate neighborly, informal support and social interaction among residents. 
The Adult Home differs from the Independent living quarters in that it is designed for individuals who need extra support and care in daily living to maintain active participation in the community. Individuals who are eligible for Medicaid funding are welcome in the adult home.

The combination of the unique features of life and offerings at Camphill Ghent provides a rich and ongoing source of potential relationships for all community members. These relationships result in friendships, practical mutual support, and shared participation in the cultural and social activities of the community.

All residents of Camphill Ghent are welcome to share in the family-style dining experience that is provided in the community dining space located in the Adult Home. Meals are a time for sharing and conversation – a coming together of a community that includes independent living residents, assisted living residents, and live-in co-workers and their children. Residents are also invited to participate in regular community gatherings that take place weekly and other groups that also meet during the week.

John Baring said the facility currently has 36 staff members, and is expected to hire more co-workers in the coming weeks as it builds out its Community Outreach program by providing support to elders in the surrounding counties. The community is also please to note they have received Gold LEED certification, because the builders and designers used energy efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable materials and designs.

To learn more about Camphill Ghent, go to

For media inquiries, please contact Kathleen Ferrari at Kferrari36(at)gmail(dot)com or 646.573.9408.
For community inquiries, contact John Baring or Amanda Henry, Director of Admissions, at 518.336.0730.

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Claudio Pannunzio
Camphill Foundation
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