Commonwealth House, a new premier assisted living facility, looks small from the street. But inside, it’s significantly bigger than one might think a one-story ranch to be, boasting spacious bedrooms, lots of natural light, accessible bathrooms with non-slip floors, a shiny kitchen and common areas. It sits on an acre of land that has a swing set for visits from grandkids and a pool that will be open in the summer once it’s licensed.
Commonwealth House held a ribbon cutting in November, and its private suites are all prepared and ready to host eight to 10 seniors (couples will share). The House expects its first guests to move in after the first of the New Year.
The goal is to “provide a comfortable, safe and nurturing environment for our residents in a setting that feels like home,” according to their mission statement. The staff was inspired to create a place that would offer more personalized care for seniors.
“We’re your home. This is where you’re going to be living, and we want you to feel like that. That’s how we differ from everyone else,” said Executive Director Gina Lee D'Amore-Brown.
The staff includes a registered nurse, certified medication technicians and a private and personal chef that will provide “farm to table” meals. Co-owner Mandi Willoughby said the location on Commonwealth Avenue is ideal, as it’s close to the highway, shopping centers and a hospital. It’s easy for families to visit their loved ones, plus they liked the area, she said of why they chose this house.
“We love that it’s really centralized. This property itself is quite large and has a beautiful backyard,” she said. “The house itself was really well laid out for this use.”
Since Rhode Island considers assisted living to be commercial, they had to go before the City Council and through zoning to obtain a special use permit so the property could be put to commercial use, she said. She added that they would ideally like to open another assisted living home in the future but for now are focusing only on Commonwealth House.
What further sets the privately-owned Commonwealth House apart, Brown said, is that though people can choose to retreat to their suites when they want, socialization and interaction is always encouraged. The house plans on having many activities like an off-site fitness center, shopping trips to the mall and markets, bridge games, tai chi, seated and outside yoga, and the pool. Brown said staff is on hand 24/7 to help provide the most secure atmosphere as possible for its residents.
“We’re simplifying life,” said Brown. “We give the families that little bit of relief so they don’t have to worry” about their elderly loved ones.
The house is comparable to other facilities in Arizona, California and Utah, Brown said. The price is as well, with the “all inclusive” cost starts at $4,500 per month.
The house, which had such “good bones” that its floor plan did not change, is also special for another reason: it’s the former home of former Ward 8 Councilman Raymond Gallucci.
“Ray is a wonderful guy” and a “magnet of a person,” said Brown. Gallucci, Brown and owners Graham and Mandi Willoughby hit it off immediately.
“It’s nice that we were able to use the home of a person who has been in the community for so long,” Brown said.
Since it was previously the home of someone so full of life, the house’s staff will dedicate themselves to making sure their residents are, too.
“At the end of the day, I want people to come in and feel like they’re vibrant,” Brown said.
Commonwealth House is located at 655 Commonwealth Avenue in Warwick. Call 298-6986 or visit commonwealthhouseri.com for more information.