A one-stop facility that provides services and supports for issues regarding aging and disability will soon get a new look.
Keystone Construction will manage the outside renovations of the Elder & Special Needs Resource Center, of 401 Washington Blvd. The building previously held Medicap Pharmacy. It used to be a gas station before that.
"It was a gray building with a hot pink stripe," Julianne Steinbacher, of Steinbacher & Stahl Law Firm, 413 Washington Blvd., said. "It hadn't been lived in for a year and a half."
The Elder & Special Needs Resource Center on 401 Washington Blvd. has been receiving a facelift to the outside of its structure. The building is still open and remains in operation during the process.
The renovations began Monday. When the project is completed, the building will reflect other buildings on the block. When deciding how she wanted the outside of the building to look, Steinbacher was inspired by the "beautiful brick" she saw on other buildings when she looked down the street.
The inside of the building was renovated already. A zoning issue halted the outside renovations because Steinbacher wanted to add another addition. Rather than wait for the addition approval, she decided to do what she knew she already could do.
The resource center was developed by Steinbacher & Stahl, an elder and special needs law firm, which was established in 2002. As an attorney, gerontologist and social worker, Steinbacher wanted a place for her clients where they could begin to research the various services and supports that are needed with the elderly and disabled.
Steinbacher said that sometimes adult sons and daughters who live outside of the area want to make plans for their aging parents, such as nursing homes, but do not know which ones are good. The resource center provides information about every nursing home, in addition to other services that will be needed.
"Family members are in a crisis situation," Steinbacher said. "They need to find a nursing home for Mom without knowing the area."
Despite the old Medicap sign hanging above the building, the resource center has already been in use. The law firm grew from six to 20 staff members in several years, so the new building also allowed for more offices. The building has also been in use in various ways. Informational materials, such as an explanation of the VA Pension and finding a nursing home for a spouse, are provided inside the building. Meetings and conference spaces are available, which include a place for families to talk before or after meetings. Training facilities and lunch and learn programs are held inside the building. Tai chi is also held in the building every Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m. A number of seminars occur inside the facilities monthly.
"We've been well-received by the community for our seminars," Laurie George, resource center director and special needs planner, said, "We have an in-house space now."
The resource center houses four to five seminars a month, on a variety of topics. Past seminars include one about medical assistance, waivers and affordable care act with David Gates, Esq., from the Pennsylvania Health Law Project as presenter, and one called 'Lessons Learned: Actions You Can Take After the Great Recession,' hosted and presented by Ronald E. Cioffi, financial adviser. Other seminars include veteran benefits for those who did not know the rights entitled to them, and autism, for those who want to know more about the disorder.
"We look at national focus areas," George said. "National focuses are often local focuses as well."
George likes having the seminars in the resource center because of the "closeness to speakers." Occasionally, they have to move the event because too many people register. 40 people can be held comfortable. 41 to 50 people can be held with overflow seating. Any more and the event needs to be moved. Having the seminars in such a small room encourages people to ask questions about the program.
People often offer suggestions for the resource center and for the seminars, such as one couple who suggested one about migraines, that will be tied into one already planned about pain.