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New assisted living facility opens
The Villas at Canterfield 'more like family'
Villas WEB 1
Archie Garner, left, and Kevin Tirpitz work on a model airplane Tuesday at the Villas at Canterfield. The new assisted living facility on Atlanta Highway opened in October and is accepting residents. - photo by Autumn Vetter

A new assisted living facility recently debuted near Cumming.

The Villas at Canterfield opened its 76,000-square-foot, three-story building in October and is welcoming new residents.

The facility, which offers several apartment-style floor plans in varying sizes, is located at 815 Atlanta Hwy.

Executive director Joan Carlson said the facility is all about making residents feel at home.

“I’ve very much a believer in truly trying to make this a home, so we have what you call permanent assignments,” she said. “That means the residents will have the same caregiver, so they really get to know each other and it feels more like a family.”

The facility is divided into two areas, one for adults who need only a little assistance with daily activities and a memory care unit for those with issues such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Lauri Carlson, director of the memory care unit, said two people are residing there, but ultimately the unit will be able to house 20.

“And we have two rooms that are double occupancy,” she said. “They’re designed so if a married couple wants to be there and one person has dementia and the other person doesn’t, they can still live together.”

The other assisted living apartments can also accommodate one or two people.

Joan Carlson said they range in size from about 350 square feet to almost 600 square feet.

Each includes at least one bedroom, a full bath and kitchenette with small refrigerators and microwaves.

The community, which is situated on 12 acres, will eventually be home to an independent living apartment facility with 74 units, as well as eight “villas,” also for independent living.

The villas and independent living apartments will include full kitchens and other amenities such as garages and a pool.  

The apartments will range in size from about 800 to 1,200 square feet, while the villas will be about 2,500 square feet.

The Villas at Canterfield employs about 17 people on three shifts in the assisted living building.

Joan Carlson said their ranks include a registered nurse, several certified nursing assistants and caregivers, cooks, housekeepers and maintenance people.

“As we continue to grow, we’ll be adding more staff,” she said.

The facility also includes a range of common areas for residents, including a dining room where they receive restaurant-style meals, a spa, salon, library, exercise room and theater.

While full of amenities, what truly separates the facility from other assisted living developments is its people and their philosophies of care, said Joan Carlson.

She noted that all staff members have many years of experience and want to focus on providing personalized care.

“Most of the caregivers that we hired, when we started telling them that they would have permanent assignments and that residents would be able to choose, they were like, ‘Oh I want to work here,’” she said. “Because so many of them had worked at places where it was like everybody had to be up and dressed and in the dining room at 7 a.m. or they didn’t get breakfast.

“We try to make it so people actually have choices. If they don’t want to get up until 10, they don’t have to. They have a lot of choices here, so it’s more like a real home.

“We are truly making it less of an institution and more of a home.”