780 AM | 96.1 FM 

“YOURS FOR WESTERN ALASKA”

(907) 443-5221

Unalakleet Constructing Assisted Living Facility to Serve Elders of Norton Sound

New building under construction in Unalakleet to offer assisted living services to elders throughout the region. Photo provided by The Rasmuson Foundation (2018)
New building under construction in Unalakleet to offer assisted living services to elders throughout the region. Photo provided by The Rasmuson Foundation (2018)

Construction is underway for an assisted living facility in Unalakleet, the first building of its kind in the entire Norton Sound region.

Robert Dickens is the project manager for this new facility, which is being spearheaded by the Native Village of Unalakleet.

“There’s a total of ten rooms for occupants. Two of them are independent living, and the other eight will be for those that have Alzheimer’s or dementia problems. And then we will have two to three personal care attendants [working] ‘round the clock.”

According to Dickens, the Native Village has been working to provide services for elders in the region for the past 15 years or so. It is not necessary for a full-time doctor or nursing staff to be at the facility, so Norton Sound Health Corporation will only be a partner in the project as needed.

“What brought a lot of this on is Unalakleet and many of the Norton Sound villages have seen their elders when they get to the point where they can’t receive care from their family, then they get shipped off to Soldotna, Anchorage, Fairbanks and different places, and they deteriorate pretty quickly in that scenario.”

As Dickens states, just because the region’s elders are old in years, they still have things to offer their families and communities. So this new assisted living facility in Unalakaleet will give elders in the region an option to receive services in a location closer to their home communities.

Dickens mentions that even though it’s not his realm of expertise, he believes the assisted living facility will be operated similarly to Quyanna Care Center in Nome when it comes to choosing its residents and occupants for the ten available rooms.

The project is estimated to cost $7.7 million, so Dickens has been requesting funds from several organizations, including Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC), NSHC, and Bering Straits Native Corporation (BSNC).

Last week, the Rasmuson Foundation joined the list, by awarding the project $649,730. Todd Shenk, a senior program officer at Rasmuson Foundation, says the assisted living facility was given a Tier 2 grant from the Foundation because of the need it will fill in Unalakleet and the region.

“We do believe that all Alaskans deserve to age in their own communities and be with family in their home community. This project will allow elders from Unalakleet and other villages in the region to stay at home when they need a little extra assistance.”

During the Rasmuson Foundation’s latest board meeting in November, the Foundation selected almost 20 projects across the state to award funds to, including Kawerak, Inc. According to the Foundation, Kawerak’s Head Start building in Nome will receive roughly $260,000 to expand its program and serve more children.

The Unalakleet elders’ assisted living facility project is not fully funded yet, but Dickens says he hopes to find other block grants and is anticipating the facility will be completed by fall of 2019.

According to Dickens, the construction crew on the project, with 40% of its force being local hires, is taking a break for the holidays. Construction should resume in January or early February.

Image at top: New building under construction in Unalakleet to offer assisted living services to elders throughout the region. Photo provided by The Rasmuson Foundation (2018).

Share this story

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Recent Posts

Patrick Landback Wins Gold Dust Dash 5k Race

Waves crashed just feet away as a row of runners lined up on Nome’s East End Beach. Veronica Perez, a Summercise Intern for Norton Sound Health Corporation, announced to the 35 competitors of the Gold Dust Dash that it was time to get ready to race.  “Ladies and gentleman, start

Read More »

MS Westerdam Passengers Recall Icy Approach to Nome

Holland America’s MS Westerdam has arrived in Nome. The cruise ship that holds over 1,900 passengers is anchored just off the coast of Nome, too big to dock in the port. Small tenders that hold about 80 passengers each are ferrying visitors to and from the shore throughout the day.

Read More »

First-Ever KNOM Radio Music Fest Draws a Crowd, Drives Donations

Selma Casagranda serenaded audience members with a few of her original songs. Casagranda is from Seward and one of four finalists from KNOM’s 2023 American Idol search. Audience members joined the King Island dance group for an invitational dance. One of KNOM’s 2023 American Idol search finalists, Martin Paul of

Read More »

More

Newsletter:

Work for Us:

Jobs

Contact

Nome:

(907) 443-5221 

Anchorage:

(907) 868-1200 

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.