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Historic mansion turned home for seniors

New owner wants to offer assisted-living home with family feel and elegance

Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2001

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Dining chairs with carved shell backs and brocade seats are seldom associated with assisted-living facilities, but the dining set encapsulates the kind of attention to detail found at a new group home for the elderly in downtown Juneau.

Shattuck Manor served for 17 years as an assisted-living home for what's now called Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc. Last fall its new owner, Delores Reina, began to transform the house into something more like the luxurious private residence it once was.

"I strongly believe that just because somebody needs help with daily living, it does not mean they have to be in a long-term facility. I wanted to provide an option. I want my clients to feel like they are part of a family," Reina said. "We wanted to have a homey atmosphere rather than an institutional one."

Assisted-living homes play a major part in the growing number of facilities for the elderly and disabled nationwide. They provide the basics, including housing, meals, laundry and medical assistance, while allowing residents more independence than a traditional nursing home.

The state-run Juneau Pioneers' Home has an assisted-living component. And St. Ann's Care Center today is moving its approximately 40 residents into a new center near Bartlett Regional Hospital, called Wildflower Court, which also includes assisted living.

Shattuck Manor, with room for five residents now and more in the future, expects to offer music programs, guest dining, gardening, games such as bridge and transportation to church services and community events.

In addition to full-time residents, the Manor will provide some respite and weekend adult day care.

Prices for Shattuck Manor services will vary depending on the level of care, the owner said.

Reina, a certified nurse's assistant, has 14 years experience in health-related services, including seven years with St. Ann's Care Center and three years as a home health assistant in Phoenix, Ariz. She also has worked as a Spanish interpreter and medical translator.

She understands her clients may need "a little assistance," such as personal reminders to take medications or help with dressing, bathing or taking walks. A ramp leads from the den to parking and a built-in lift runs up the side of the main staircase to the second floor bedrooms. There is a handicapped-accessible bath on the first floor, next to a den with bookshelves and a computer for "e-mailing grandchildren."

Reina is choosing historic photos from Southeast to decorate the stairwells and is hoping locals will donate memorabilia related to the house or its era.

Shattuck Manor will have a staff of five, including Reina's sister, Isabell Perez, a medical assistant who will help with personal hygiene and hydration, check vital signs and document patients' records; she will live on site. Perez will also observe residents' behavior and report any serious problem to a licensed nurse.

Shattuck Manor has jumped through all the necessary legal hoops to offer assisted living as part of full residential care.

"In order to open, we needed a permit from the city," Reina said. "We had to be in full compliance with an alarm system, a sprinkler system."

The facility has been inspected by the fire department to make sure it is up to code. The home's license was issued April 10.

The existing license allows five clients. Two bedrooms are shared; one is private. Reina plans to expand, to remodel the basement with five more bedrooms, a small kitchen and an elevator.

The Shattuck residence, built between 1912 and 1915 just off Calhoun Avenue on Eighth Street, is part of an established neighborhood near the Governor's Mansion.

Allen Shattuck came to Juneau in November 1897, at age 25, as a salesman for New York Life Insurance. He prospered as one of the owners of the Alaska Steamship Co. and served as a senator in the 1940s in the Territorial Legislature. His son Curtis, born in 1907, was first a reporter for the Daily Alaska Empire, a predecessor of the Juneau Empire, and then joined his father's insurance agency, today known as Shattuck & Grummett.

The family held weddings and receptions in Allen Shattuck's large living-dining room through the 1940s, said M'Iva Rickey of Crystal Clear Communications, the public relations firm for the Manor. The house retains its original panes of wavy glass in the dining area, and the living area contains a large, L-shaped window seat. Cupboards built into a corner of the living area will house a television and entertainment system.

Reina's husband Alejandro labored with her on the renovations.

"It's been a lot of work. When we started working on the walls, many nights we went to bed at three in the morning," Delores Reina said.

Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Twenty-four hours notice is requested to arrange respite care/weekend adult day care. For details, call 463-4300.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneauempire.com.



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