There may be a new elderly care option coming to Madison County.

Last week, the Madison County Planning Commission reviewed an upcoming indefinite special use permit application to operate an assisted living facility. The facility would be located on a 12 acre piece of a 116.1 acre property located off Blueridge Turnpike in Rochelle. The property is zoned agriculture, A-1 and is owned by Joseph Summy. Son Roman Summy is the permit applicant.

The facility would consist of two housing units serving up to 30 residents collectively. The facility would operate under the assisted living umbrella, but would provide full round the clock care consistent with that of the nursing home. The facility would use a household concept with a separate husband and wife team living in and overseeing each of the two units.

The household concept is something that has worked well for Roman Summy’s relatives. The family has a long history in nursing home and assisted living facilities. Roman Summy said the family legacy was started by his grandfather, Clyde Bender of Blue Ridge Christian Homes who created an elderly care home on an Amish/Mennonite dairy farm in Stuarts Draft in 1975. That legacy continued with Bender’s sons and Summy’s uncles, Melvin and Raymond Bender. They operate elderly care homes on farms in Rockbridge, Culpeper and Fauquier counties. Assisting the elderly is a family ministry for the Benders and Summys.

Melvin Bender said the facilities offer total care and are part of the “aging in place” movement allowing elderly people to remain in one place until their death.

“Our father’s statement was ‘one family helping another family,’” he said. “Madison will be blessed to have this.”

Raymond Bender said the community has been very receptive to his facility, “Our Father’s Home” in Culpeper, stating he hopes the same will occur in Madison.

“I think this will be a wonderful blessing for the county of Madison,” he said.

Summy said his facility, which would be licensed under the Department of Social Services, would be smaller than Mountain View Nursing Home in Aroda which has 40 beds. He said the project will be done in phases beginning with one husband and wife team in one unit and eventually expanding with a second husband and wife team and additional unit. In addition to the couple, there will also be other employees with approximately 35 part-time an full-time once the business is fully operational.

Summy and his wife, Yvonne, both have experience in caring for the elderly. In addition to being experienced and familiar with the family business, Yvonne is a nurse at Mountain View Nursing Home and is currently transitioning from an LPN to an RN and is a licensed administrator for an assisted living facility under the Department of Social Services.

“This home would be to bring honor to our elders by giving encouragement, purpose and value to their lives in a world where elders are often forgotten and devalued,” Summy wrote in a letter to commissioners.

The planning commission and board of supervisors will host a joint public hearing on the permit application Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.

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