55+ community being developed in Orange City with hopes of slowing need for senior healthcare

“I think there’s just an aging population that’s looking to simplify the way they live,” said Ben Kurtzleben with Vision Builders.
Seniors wanting to move into either Orange City’s nursing home or retirement community will first have to wait -- for a while. The average wait time is 18-24 mo
Updated: Feb. 5, 2023 at 3:00 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Seniors wanting to move into either Orange City’s nursing home or retirement community will first have to wait -- for a while. The average wait time is 18-24 months at either facility.

Currently under construction in the Dutch hub of northwest Iowa is Kanaal Huis, Dutch for Canal House. It is a 55+ senior living condominium sponsored by Orange City Area Health Foundation. There are hopes it will improve the quality of life for aging Iowans - in return, slowing the need for further senior care like assisted living or nursing homes.

“It’s a little bit reverse engineering in that our nursing home has high demand, more demand than our ability to meet in today’s environment, staffing issues, and things like that,” said Orange City Area Health System CEO Marty Guthmiller. “This is not a solution that will happen tomorrow but it is a solution that will begin tomorrow and expand over the next 5-10 years.”

In turn, the goal is to make more housing available for younger families wanting to live in Orange City. Kannal Huis is the anchor of The Canals neighborhood, including single-family and twin homes around the condos.

“We’re always trying to be very intentional about adding value to this age demographic. What would be important to them from a living perspective? We think it starts with healthy living. So within Kannal Huis, there’s a clubhouse, fitness room, and hospitality suites,” said Ben Kurtzleben with Vision Builders.

On top of this, OCAHS is looking to the next chapter of its Landsmeer Ridge retirement community, adding more bedrooms and amenities. But before people move in there, there is now the option to stay fully independent while starting the downsizing process. The project cites a study by Grand View Research about how the baby boomer generation wants to stay independent and active while living in a community with shared values.

Within view of the Orange City Area Health System building, Guthmiller envisions The Canals will also make health education more accessible.

“We believe through the health system is the opportunity for things like weightlifting for seniors, physical therapy classes, a dietician kind of programs to talk about nutrition, we can talk about blood pressure and blood sugars,” said Guthmiller.

The condominium is expected to be completed in November. You can learn more here.

Guthmiller mentioned staffing is an issue at their facilities, and it is becoming costly. He says they have about 16 to 17 full-time positions they are filling with temp agencies, which costs more than permanently hiring. If they didn’t have those positions filled, they would have to reduce beds. But the beds are also starting to cost the health system.

”There’s tremendous cost escalation in the nursing home industry today that’s exacerbated by the fact we don’t have cost-based reimbursement of any kind in today’s environment. That changed with the advent of Medicaid Advantage programs,” said Guthmiller.

He says they’re about $100,000 short a month for covering the cost of care for the Medicaid population. But he emphasizes that they will still provide care.

Guthmiller says he has raised the issue within the Iowa Hospital Association in hopes that will increase the chance for legislative attention.