Accompanied last week by Piedmont city building inspector Carl Hinton, architect Michael Anderson inspected the 7,000-square-foot former hospital at 612 Calhoun St., on the hill behind Veterans Memorial Park. Anderson said Wednesday he believes the building is suited for the operation of such a business.
Ruby Stockdale, owner of Staff Medical Services, an Anniston home health care agency, approached the Piedmont City Council earlier this month, expressing interest in leasing the building. Mayor Brian Young asked that the building be inspected to determine if work would need to be done before the business could open.
Stockdale said the center would hire four trained nurses and as many as 22 aides and would accept clients in daytime hours only, providing meals and transportation to adults age 55 or older and in need of care.
The center would accept Medicaid and private insurance payments, Stockdale said, provide an alternative to nursing home care and give respite for caregivers of aging adults.
“It’s pretty well suited for what they want to do with it,” Anderson said. The sprinkler system will have to be tested and certified by the State Fire Marshal’s office, but most of the work needed is minor cosmetic work, Anderson said.
Much of the safety equipment required by the Americans With Disabilities Act, such as handicapped-accessible bathrooms, bathing facilities and doorways, is already in place, Anderson said.
Piedmont City Councilwoman Millie Bramblett met Stockdale while planning a job fair. When she learned Stockdale was looking for a facility to run her business, Bramblett said she made the case for Piedmont.
“I said, I’ve got the perfect place for you,” Bramblett said, telling Stockdale that the old hospital would be ideal. Attempts Wednesday to reach Stockdale were unsuccessful, but Bramblett said a lease agreement is being drafted for the City Council’s consideration.
Hinton said Stockdale has agreed to do much of the painting and general cleanup of the building, while the city will replace some broken ceiling tiles and lighting.
Diane Murphy is the nutrition director at the Piedmont Senior Center, housed in the same complex as the proposed adult daycare. The center, run by the city with money from the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission Area Agency on Aging, provides transportation to the center and meals for area seniors.
Murphy has met with Stockdale and said she is looking forward to the business opening next door.
“I’m glad to see it,” Murphy said, adding that she well knows the difficulty of caring for an aging parent.
“Our dad had a stroke. I was 29 and working,” Murphy said. “My sister was working and my mother was working. We had a heck of a time finding somebody to stay with daddy. It would have been wonderful to have” an adult daycare, she said.
Almost 17 percent of Piedmont’s population is over the age of 65, according to the 2010 U.S. census.
A 2010 study by the National Adult Day Services Association and The Ohio State University College of Social Work found that there were 4,600 adult day service centers nationwide, a 3 percent increase since 2002. The study reported that the centers serve about 260,000 people, an increase of more than 100,000 since 2002.
Star staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3568 On Twitter @EBurkhalter_Star.