SPRINGVALE — Liz Iandoli-Raab spent upwards of 25 years as a geriatric care manager. She always worked for someone else, but dreamed of having a business of her own. She also wanted to continue to work with senior citizens. And she knew what sort of a senior care residence she’d run.

“I wanted a place we could feel comfortable bringing our parents to,” she said.

After a long search, Iandoli-Raab, and her husband Mike Raab, found the spot they were looking for, at 25 Oak St. They packed up their home on Cape Cod, purchased the residence last fall, undertook a flurry of renovations, and opened the assisted living residence Jan. 1.

Right now, there are four people living at the residence, which is licensed by the state for 10. Iandoli-Raab, Raab and their son Alex staff the facility, along with a per diem registered nurse, a part-time housekeeper and a per diem certified residential medication aide and personal support specialist.

To ready the home for residents and give it a fresh, new look, contractors stripped wallpaper from the walls and applied new paint. New appliances were installed, and kitchen cabinets were given a new look. The dining room was enhanced with a 1920s-era sideboard, and new sofas and chairs and other touches were added.

“We wanted to keep the home as original as possible,” she said.

The residence was built in about 1900.

Client bedrooms on the second floor ”“ accessible by a chair lift ”“ are also being renovated, and Iandoli-Raab explains that if a resident wants to bring their own furniture along, they’re welcome to do so, if it will fit in the room. Bathrooms are handicapped accessible, and there are grab bars and other features ”“ like a bathtub bench ”“ that keep safety and ease of use in mind.

The Raab family lives on site as well, in their own wing of the residence.

Currently, Anchor Senior Care Residence is a private pay facility, but Iandoli-Raab hopes one day to be able to accept MaineCare clients ”“ because, she said, there’s a huge need in the area. As well, at some point, she hopes to expand the residence from 10 beds to 14.

It is, for Iandoli-Raab, a dream come true. She was raised in Massachusetts by a family who always worked for themselves ”“ they owned supermarkets in the Worcester area. Self-employment was in the blood, she said. But for most of her career, Iandoli-Raab worked at managing care for elderly folks who wanted to stay in their homes at companies that offered those services.

“I did it for the love of it,” she said.

Although she continued to work for others, the couple began searching for a business of their own. They looked at several ”“ from markets to convenience stores to home health agencies ”“ before deciding on a senior care residence.

They looked around New England. Some homes were too big. Some were too expensive. Then, they found Springvale, and the residence at 25 Oak St.

At 10:30 a.m. on a recent morning, a couple of ladies were chatting and drinking coffee at the kitchen table. They’re enjoying life here, and Iandoli-Raab is enjoying providing a comfortable home for residents ”“ and peace of mind for families.

“We realized after a long search that this is what we wanted to do,” said Iandoli-Raab.

“And boy are we glad she did,” said Margaret, one of the residents.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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