Assisted Living Facility Coming To Albany

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An assisted living facility is slated to open within the next few weeks at the former location of Russell Nursing Home in Albany.

The Close to Home assisted living facility will be owned by Sharon Hartwig and Charles Kunkel of Ashland, Ky., who already have two Close to Home facilites in Ironton, one in Middletown and another about to get under construction in Minster, Ohio.

They are leasing the space in Albany from the former owners and operators of Russell Nursing Home, Coe Dearth and Jeff McDaniel.

Hartwig, who is a registered nurse with a masters in business administration from Ohio University, said the Albany assisted living facility will have 23 to 25 private rooms.

Residents will receive assistance with their living needs, such as meals, housekeeping and laundry, and there will be 24-hour nursing services available and regular visits by a physician, Hartwig said.

Hartwig said rooms will cost $2,750 to $2,900 per month, although a Medicaid waiver is being sought through the Ohio Council on Aging that will help qualifying residents meet the cost.

The facility will be managed by her daughter, Sarah Stapleton.

Hartwig said there will be 12 to 15 full- and part-time employees.

People interested in seeking employment can stop by the Albany location at 5176 Washington Road or vist the Close to Home website at

She said the facility should be open in three or four weeks, although initially it will be limited to two residents until the licensing process is complete.

There will be some building improvements, she said.

”We’re planning to upgrade the older section of the building,” Hartwig said, adding that there will be some cosmetic improvements to the newer section.

”Eventually we would hope to add on, if things go well,” Hartwig said.

Hartwig is a licensed nursing home administrator. Kunkel has a bachelor’s degree in education from University of Rio Grande, and a master’s in public administration from Central Michigan University.

Russell Nursing Home closed at the end of 2012. At the time, the nursing home’s attorney, Geoff Webster, said the closing resulted from Medicaid reimbursement reductions that had taken place over the previous several years.

“It just became unfeasible to operate the facility,” Webster said.