In Latest Elder-Care Shuffle, The Hermitage Is Sold, Buyers Dropping Skilled Nursing

By Linda Cicoira — A deal to sell the Hermitage on the Eastern Shore in Onancock has been made and the buyer is promising to invest $3 million for capital improvements, convert the skilled nursing wing into memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and add independent living services to the already upscale retirement center.

The sale price was not disclosed in an announcement made late Wednesday by the buyer, Commonwealth Senior Living, of Charlottesville, Va., which has 21 such communities in Virginia, and Pinnacle Living, of Glen Allen, Va., a not-for-profit organization that was formerly United Methodist Homes and currently owns the Hermitage. The facility will be renamed Commonwealth Senior Living at the Eastern Shore.

The new company will take over management next month “once the nursing beds are converted,” the announcement stated. “The transaction is expected to be complete before the end of the year with construction starting shortly thereafter.”

Residents “are expected to remain and will not see any increase to their base rate for at least 12 months,” according to the announcement. The two companies “will work together during the transition from nursing to assisted living to determine staffing needs … associates not retained will be offered a severance package from Pinnacle Living.” The announcement said future job opportunities are anticipated as “renovations are completed and occupancy grows.”

“Those residents currently residing in nursing will be assessed in the coming weeks to ensure their needs can be met in assisted living or memory care” with “a reduction in their monthly fee once the transition to assisted living is complete. Skilled nursing services will continue to be available through local home health providers,” the announcement continued.

“We understand the importance of continuing the mission Pinnacle Living has so capably carried on for more than 50 years, and we are both excited and honored to have the opportunity to bring our passion and our expertise in caring for seniors to the Eastern Shore.” said Richard Brewer, Commonwealth Living’s CEO. “While nursing home utilization has declined over the last 10 years, the need for more affordable options such as independent living, assisted living and memory care has grown. We are making a significant commitment to ensure those needs are met.”

“This decision came after many months of careful consideration and research into who would be a good partner to continue our mission of enriching life’s journey,” said Pinnacle Living President and CEO Christopher P. Henderson. “We are pleased with CSL’s plan to further invest in the community, the additional services and its commitment to ensuring the community will remain a resource to seniors on the Eastern Shore for the long term.”

Commonwealth Living has “successfully operated communities throughout the state for almost 17 years, including buildings in the nearby Southside, Peninsula, Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck areas,” the announcement stated.

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