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4/16/2017 9:13:00 AM
Mishawaka part of assisted living boom
Diana Hunt works on crafts during a group activity in the River View 500 apartment building in Mishawaka where she lives in assisted living. Staff photo by Robert Franklin
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Diana Hunt works on crafts during a group activity in the River View 500 apartment building in Mishawaka where she lives in assisted living. Staff photo by Robert Franklin

Joseph Dits, South Bend Tribune Staff Writer

MISHAWAKA — At 73, Janice Ramsey’s legs and feet have been giving her more trouble. An old problem with swelling, or lymphedema, made it hard to hobble around her house in Elkhart to sweep and cook.

“I’ve fallen a couple of times,” she said, unable to keep her balance.

She searched for an assisted living apartment, looking for ones that accepted payment from the government’s Medicaid waiver for people with low income. The closest she found in Elkhart County was in Goshen, putting her farther from family and friends.

Just over a year ago, she moved into the Vannoni Living Center in Mishawaka, thinking that family and friends would be more likely to visit if they’re in the area to shop. A few of them have.

Ramsey’s move across the county line points to the growing demand for assisted living, particularly for people who hold Medicaid waivers. Developers are responding with new apartment complexes around Indiana, most recently in Mishawaka, where they are seizing opportunities for government financing.

That’s a healthy trend since “far fewer” of the local assisted living apartments accept Medicaid, said Becky Zaseck, president and CEO of the nonprofit REAL Services, which serves area seniors.

The following three assisted living complexes wouldn’t have come about without Medicaid waivers, say their organizers.

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