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Posted on Sun, Feb 14, 2010 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor's Glacier Hills Senior Living Community proposes $25M in improvements

By James Briggs

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Glacier Hills Senior Living Community Treasurer George Borel, left, with President & CEO Ray Rabidoux next to a rendering of a planned expansion to the community.

Melanie Maxwell |

Glacier Hills Senior Living Community has proposed $25 million in expansions and improvements for its 34-acre residential community in northeast Ann Arbor.

Founded in 1973, nonprofit Glacier Hills provides short-term rehabilitation, independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care. About 1,000 patients a year come to Glacier Hills for short-term care, while the campus houses about 200 long-term residents.

Pending approval by the city of Ann Arbor, the Glacier Hills project would add a brand-new skilled nursing facility and 36 additional beds and increase the number of private rooms from 23 to 113 by 2012.

“Our goal is not to greatly increase the numbers,” said Gerie Greenspan, associate director of development. “What we’re increasing is the quality and breadth of the facility.”

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Glacier Hills is located on Earhart Road in Ann Arbor, between Plymouth and Geddes roads.

Melanie Maxwell |

If the project is approved, work could begin as early as this spring and last about 18-22 months, Greenspan said. Glacier Hills is still waiting to hear feedback from the city on its proposal.

Glacier Hills has four major buildings - three of which were built in the 1970s - and 13 villas that each house two resident units. The campus often is a next step for patients treated by University of Michigan or St. Joseph Mercy health systems.

“Being the post-(operation) partner after patients go to acute care in hospitals, we want to provide the very top program and very top facilities,” Greenspan said. “We should be able to handle the transition from hospital to home.”

Alan Dengiz, who has a hand in all three sides of the partnership,said Glacier Hills is a tremendous supplement to local hospitals. Dengiz, the Glacier Hills medical director, also is the director of geriatric medicine for St. Joseph Mercy Health System and a professor of geriatrics for the University of Michigan.

It’s important for Washtenaw County’s health-care community, Dengiz said, for Glacier Hills to be operating under the most modern conditions.

“Glacier Hills has decided to make a major leap forward, I think, to improve facilities and thereby improve the care of people who have memory problems and physical disabilities,” Dengiz said.

While Dengiz specializes in geriatrics, he has pushed for Glacier Hills to become a leading facility in caring for patients with memory loss. Building improvements are necessary to provide the best care for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-loss conditions, he said.

“We can’t solve the problem of memory loss by changing the environment, but it does help,” he said. “What we find is with older adults with various types of memory problems, so much depends on not only the environment, but the activities we involve them in. These people need special attention and special care.”



Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 11:20 p.m.

I think it is a really good idea that you are wanting to fix this place up.. But i really think maybe instead of placing all of your eggs in 1 basket in reconstruction maybe staffing should be part of that Idea of yours...I have seen 1st hand the staff doing things they should not be doing while on the clock..I would hope as an employer you would hold your staff responsible for their actions and daily tasks not being finished and maybe should give the family members and patients a comment card that they can fill out daily to comment on the staff..I Can understand that we all may have a bad day and that may reflect on our services and that can be taken under consideration but if this is a daily thing maybe the staffing needs to be reviewed. Lets get people that are excited to work and make this a better place. Instead of a choir. From a family member of a patient ..