Debbie Tolan bought an assisted living facility and moved to DeLand from upstate New York in July 1994. A quarter-century later, Rose Manor ALF is still going strong and typically has every one of its 10 state-licensed beds spoken for.
“I’m usually full, and vacant beds fill quickly, typically by word-of-mouth in the community,” Tolan told The Beacon. “I thank the community for the support.”
She also thanked first responders, who have been very good to Rose Manor over the years.
Tolan is a registered nurse who had a wide-ranging, 20-years-plus career in hospitals and rehab units before buying what became Rose Manor. (It had been operating under a different name for several years before Tolan bought it.)
Rose Manor has four private rooms, and three semiprivate rooms that can each accommodate two residents. Tolan currently has two vacancies in separate semiprivate rooms, but expects them to be taken in short order.
All of her current clients are women, but Tolan has taken male clients in the past.
“I will accept men if I have a private room, or I can put two men into a semiprivate room,” she said. “I also have had husbands and wives, and sisters who roomed together.”
Tolan works hard at maintaining a good reputation in DeLand.
“I work with other facilities to swap referrals, and I stay involved in the community with various organizations,” she said. “Some of the big places don’t.”
Tolan says the assisted living industry has changed in the 25 years since she got into it. For one thing, more people are staying in their homes longer before going into ALF care.
But there is more competition from chains operating larger facilities, driving up the cost for smaller operations — such as Rose Manor — trying to compete.
“A lot of people don’t know we exist, and we don’t have the budget to let the world know about us,” Tolan said. “People need to realize there are small ALFs out there, like Rose Manor, that don’t have long hallways and less personalized care. Staffing isn’t there in large facilities.”
Rose Manor has two nurses’ aides on duty every day to handle the needs of up to 10 residents, she said.
Tolan also is proactive in taking care of her property. She doesn’t let maintenance or other issues linger. And in 2007, she installed a generator that can power the entire home, with a 500-gallon fuel tank buried in her front yard.
The generator predates by about a decade a state regulation requiring emergency power sources for nursing homes and ALFs — a regulation imposed following the deaths of about a dozen nursing-home residents in South Florida, when oppressive heat and humidity that set in after Hurricane Irma knocked out much of the power in the area.
Rose Manor is at 120 W. North St. in DeLand, conveniently located near shopping, restaurants and doctors’ offices.
Rose Manor’s license number is AL7585.