Middlebury senior home closing

MIDDLEBURY — After 25 years in the senior care business, the owners of Addison House announced last week that they’re shutting the doors to the College Street community care facility.
Owners Sharon Thompson, Barbara O’Hehir and Marcia Wheeler notified the home’s staff and residents last week that the facility would be shutting down in 90 days. They’ve been gearing up to close for a year, Thompson said, but wanted to take the transition slowly to affect the fewest residents possible.
Addison House is home to seven residents, down from a high of 17.
The three owners, all nurses who also work for Addison County Home Health and Hospice, opened the care home 25 years ago to tackle the challenge of providing affordable but high-quality resident care for seniors.
“We wanted to show the community at large that it was possible to provide very high-level care for people at an affordable price, and that high-quality and health care does not necessarily mean you have to spend a lot,” Thompson said.
Now, more than two decades later, Thompson said she thinks the business achieved that goal, and the Addison House owners have reached an age where they now feel ready to retire.
“Our philosophy was that we would take care of people from the minute they walked in the door to the day they died and we have been able to do that,” Thompson said.
Addison House is now helping its remaining seven residents find new living arrangements. Thompson said the conversation about how to provide affordable, quality home care for seniors has been ongoing in Addison County, but she doesn’t think that Addison House’s closing will leave a hole in the community. She pointed to facilities like Shard Villa in Salisbury as one of the several residential care facilities available.
The Addison House building, which is located at 152 College St. in Middlebury, has been in operation as a care home for around 30 years. Prior to becoming the Addison House, the facility was known first as Morningside Manor and then as Betz’s Care Home.
The owners of Morningside Manor, William and Patricia Southwick, purchased the large home from a local physician whose own father had raised his family and run his medical practice there.
Thompson also said the building served as the first women’s dormitory for Middlebury College.
She added that she and the other two owners want to sell the house down the line, but aren’t sure who the buyer will be yet. They’ll put the house on the market, but haven’t yet determined an asking price.
Thompson said that if residential care homes want to offer good services without costing a fortune, large profits have to take a backseat to other priorities.
“You have to be very reasonable and moderate about how much money you keep for yourself, which is the key,” she said.
Looking back on the facility’s 25 years in business, Thompson said that the owners and the Addison House staff formed “long, intensely close relationships” with many families in the region over the years.
“That has had a great deal of meaning to us,” she said.
Kathryn Flagg is at [email protected].

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