Blackburn Home Celebrates 85 Years of Serving Seniors

POLAND, Ohio – In the early 1900s, the late Sylvester Blackburn was looking for a place that would take care of his ailing mother.

The local Coitsville farmer was the only caregiver of his mother, said Michelle Rudge, director of the Blackburn Home. In the 1900s, there weren’t any assisted living homes to care for seniors, she added, so he started one, which today bears his name.

“When [Elizabeth] passed away, [Sylvester] wanted to develop a home for seniors with home cooked food and activities with a low monthly cost,” said Michelle Rudge, today the director of The Blackburn Home Senior Living & Independent Community. 

In July 1915, the Blackburn Home for Aged People Association was organized and in 1934, the home opened at 6 Botsford St. in Poland. The retirement home celebrated its 85th anniversary Tuesday.

“All of this would have just been a dream without everyone’s immense support,” said Tom Duncan, president of Blackburn Home’s board. 

Tom Cavalier, Stifel financial adviser; Crissi Jenkins, program coordinator, Youngstown Foundation; Tom Duncan, board president, Blackburn Home; Michelle Rudge, Blackburn Home director; Larry Warren, board member, Blackburn Home; BethAnn Passarello, board member, Blackburn Home; Joan Madej, architect, Century 21 Lakeside Realty.

The home has been well maintained for the past 85 years and has been updated with technology convenience for the residents, Rudge said. It currently houses 15 seniors.

Residents are assisted with prescription fulfillments and delivery to the home, daily medication, stand by shower guidance and other daily routines. Fifteen one- and two-room suites with private baths start at $2,000 to $2,500 per month, its website reports.

“We have been the best kept secret in Poland for a retirement home for seniors,” she said. “We continue to have pride in all of our employees that show compassion and integrity toward all of our residents.”

As part of the anniversary celebration, The Youngstown Foundation contributed a $20,000 grant for the new entrance ramp, which covered a third of the cost. Staff at the Blackburn Home saw a need to change the ramp structure because it was getting difficult for seniors to enter and exit the home, Rudge said.

The new ramp at The Blackburn Home was supported by a $20,000 grant from The Youngstown Foundation.

“The Youngstown Foundation was thrilled to play a part in providing this ramp to this organization that does such good work,” said Crissi Jenkins, program coordinator of The Youngstown Foundation.

The Youngstown Foundation makes thoughtful grants to the community where the need is vital, Jenkins said. Grants are made to enhance the quality of life for people living in the community and the entrance ramp was the perfect opportunity, she added.

“At The Youngstown Foundation, universal design and accessibility is very important,” Jenkins said. “We think that every individual should have the opportunity to enjoy life recreationally and have access to buildings.”

The ramp took a year to complete and was finished in June of this year. So far, the residents love the new ramp and it’s nice they are now able to come out to enjoy the weather in a safer way, Rudge said. In addition, if residents need additional assistance, it’s easier for staff to walk alongside of them as well, she added.

The Youngstown Foundation makes grants quarterly four times a year. Organizations that have a need can visit to look at grant guidelines and deadlines to apply, Jenkins said. 

“It’s better for emergency personnel and it’s better for the community,” Rudge said. “We’re very thankful for our families, our residents and the community support for 85 years. We hope to continue for another 85 years.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.