Kenyan couple in US to open small assisted living facility in city
Paul and Virginia Kimani have both cared for the elderly at large institutional style nursing homes, but now they’re hoping to care for them in a smaller more home-like setting.
The couple has applied for a special permit to run an assisted living facility — housing at most six seniors — at 71 Emory St. which is part of a residential neighborhood.
Paul Kimani, a licensed practical nurse and also a part-time pastor at St. James Community Church on Bank Street, said that some elderly people who end up in large nursing homes don’t necessarily need to be there because they can still do many things for themselves, but on the other hand living alone is not safe for them.
The home he and his wife — a registered nurse who works at Golden Living Center — envision would provide independence for the things the seniors can do on their own and help for things they can’t, but most importantly would provide a safe environment where someone is available to help or to talk.
And sometimes just having someone to talk with is one of the most important activities for a senior, Kimani said.
“The biggest advantage is having an opportunity to reach these people, to talk and be able to share stories,” he said.
Kimani said the small number of residents would ensure more attention for each and provide time for the simple but important things like conversation.
“If you are working with 20 people, it’s different than working with five,” he said.
Each resident would have their own rooms, but meals would be taken together in the family style dining room of the six-bedroom home.
The seniors would be given assistance bathing and dressing if needed and would be reminded to take their medications.
Kimani and his wife would not live at the home, but would hire someone to be there at night for any problems that arise.
A public hearing will be held July 12 before the zoning board of appeals at City Hall.
If a special permit is granted, the Kimanis would then have to meet state requirements for an assisted living facility and be licensed before they could open the doors.