Tradition of resident care continues at Osage City’s Peterson Assisted Living

Many have heard about the closing of longtime Osage City business, Peterson Health Care, Inc., which has been a central fixture in Osage City since 1976. Maybe not as well understood, though, is that one family’s legacy of caring for people will continue just across the street at Peterson Assisted Living.

Crystal Peterson owns both businesses, with Peterson Health Care offering nursing home services since 1976, and a sister business, Peterson Assisted Living, beginning in 1996. The recent sale of the nursing home was part of Peterson’s plan for retirement.

“When all of my children graduated from college was when I planned to retire,” Peterson said recently. “The last one graduated in May.”

She explained the sale of the nursing home was the first step for reducing her business involvements, but retirement plans still include continuing her family’s business of caring for people. Peterson noted she first began in the nursing home business when she was a child. Her grandparents offered rooms in their home, caring for the elderly and infirm, starting in the 1950s.

“It started as a little house with four rooms for the people my grandparents took in,” she said.

As Peterson grew up, it was common for her to spend time reading with residents at her grandparents’ home or cranking the player piano for their daily entertainment.

“It was part of my life, going there every day after school,” she remembered.

As an adult, Peterson continued that tradition of caring, eventually operating the nursing center and neighboring assisted living facility in the 600 block of Holliday Street.

“We were dedicated to providing the best experience, whether at the assisted living or across the street,” she said. “And throughout the years, we were committed to this community.”

With the assisted living facility continuing, Peterson said the business will continue to provide the best experience for residents.

Peterson noted that a dedicated staff is in place at the facility, with Tricia Gundy serving as director.

“I’ve worked side by side with Tricia for the last five years,” Peterson said. “I feel very confident in trusting her in that job.”

Gundy previously served as rehabilitation director at Peterson Health Care.

The staff at 20-apartment facility provides the best homelike atmosphere as possible. As an assisted living facility, such things as medication management and meal preparation are included in the cost of living there. While the level of care is different than a nursing home, residents at the assisted living also have access to outside agency assistance, such as for speech therapy or other rehabilitation therapies.

Beyond the necessary assistance offered to its residents, Peterson Assisted Living also boasts of many features that make living there as homey as possible. The apartments in the facility were designed by Peterson, and include dining area and kitchen, living area, bedroom and bathroom.

“I just designed the apartments to be a place where I’d like to live,” Peterson said.

Residents can cook their own meals in their kitchens, or partake in the meals served daily in the common dining area.

The facility also offers transportation to local sites, doctor appointments, shopping, mystery lunch outings, and other activities.

“If they have a car, they can come and go as they want,” Gundy said, noting there is convenient parking available with curbside access.

Laundry services and housekeeping are included, although residents can use the laundry facilities to wash their own clothes if they wish.

“We keep the apartments neat and tidy and safe,” Gundy said.

A community living room features comfortable furniture and a large screen television, with regular movie nights and access to videos on all subjects available. Some residents use the large television to play exercise videos for their daily physical activity. For sitting and relaxing there are a screened-in front porch and a new patio in the back, along with a raised bed garden waiting for someone with a green thumb to tend it. Other conveniences include a beauty shop, where area hairdressers can style residents’ hair, regular entertainment by musical groups and others, health talks, church services twice a month, and, of course, piano playing for those with that talent.

Residents at the facility also have a say in their living situations, with a resident council appointed to offer advice on things they’d like to see changed or other suggestions for the facility.

“We encourage the residents to have that voice,” Gundy said.

Gundy and Peterson are happy to assist anyone who is considering moving themselves or a family member into an assisted living facility, and can help make the arrangements for living at Peterson Assisted Living.

At Peterson Assisted Living, a family tradition of resident care continues.

Peterson Assisted Living is centrally located at 629 Holliday St., Osage City, about equidistance from Topeka, Emporia and Ottawa. Residents include those with private pay and others with state funded assistance. For more information, call 785-528-3301.

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