Partner Spotlight

First Alzheimer’s Care Homes Constructed for People with Down Syndrome

“HomeAid San Diego is proud to be Noah Homes’ partner in the building of these two innovative Memory Care Homes.  The project team members we brought together are top notch in their profession and were committed from day one to the spirit of this project through their pro bono involvement”, said Alexis Parker, Executive Director of HomeAid San Diego. “The quality of the design and construction shows through every detail of these ‘forever homes’ for the folks who will live in them at Noah Homes.”

(SAN DIEGO) – Noah Homes, a nonprofit for adults with developmental disabilities, joined by elected officials and more than 30 community partners announced the completion of the first memory care homes in California, two of the first in the nation, specifically for people with developmental disabilities, including Down syndrome, Autism, cerebral palsy and others.

Two 5,000 sq. ft. houses will open in early 2017 and become home to 20 people with developmental disabilities who have been diagnosed with aging issues, Alzheimer’s or another related dementia. The total project was estimated to cost $6.7 million and is less than $1 million from being completely funded. Noah Homes has set up a GoFundMe to help raise the remaining funds.

Residents are selected based off an interest list of adults with developmental disabilities receiving services through the San Diego Regional Center. Project partners are hopeful that plans will be replicated by other organizations throughout California and across the nation, alleviating some of the burden of the 15.5 million caregivers who provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at more than $220 billion in 2013.

“Almost all people with Down syndrome will develop Alzheimer’s as they live into their 60s – starting as early as their 40s – and yet there are no homes specialized for their needs,” said Molly Nocon, CEO of Noah Homes. “As UC San Diego continues to advance research on Alzheimer’s, we are working with organizations around the country to advance quality of care for those affected – obviously, the need is much larger and this is just the beginning.”

For the first time in history, this underserved population of more than 280,000 people with developmental disabilities in California is dealing with issues related to aging, including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. For instance, life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from 25 in 1983 to an average age of 60 today.

Noah Homes, a nonprofit providing residential care, community advocacy and collaborative services for adults with developmental disabilities, is working with more than 30 business partners in construction, employment, programming, health care, policy and the nonprofit sector to fill the gap in housing options for those aging with developmental disabilities.

About the homes:

Hospice: Two rooms in each home will be dedicated to hospice. Wider doorways allow easy access for wheelchairs and/or hospice beds if needed.

Sensory Room: A room in each home is used for reducing anxiety, stress and strain on the body. Elements include a large bathtub, soft lighting, music and aroma therapy.

Bathrooms and toilets are set up for declining functioning of residents. Elements include colored tile marking the positioning of the toilet and colored seat covers for easy sighting.

Open floor plan – helps avoid confusion that could be caused by closed off spaces or hallways, and allows staff to easily monitor activity

Large great room – promotes social interaction

Infinity walkway – located around the houses, this “never ending” path promotes independence and allows residents to wander freely outside without getting lost or confused

Memory Care Boxes: These are for residents to put pictures and mementos, helping them to remember important details such as family, hobbies, life events. These boxes also help staff get to know the residents and help the residents to remember which room is theirs.

Kitchen: Equipped with a wheelchair height bar and ½ door to maintain the feel of the home, but restrict access if necessary.

Delayed egress gates: Can be activated if necessary. Large outdoor rooms, called “California Rooms” and Nanno walls promote activity and getting outdoors.

Research room: UC San Diego Down Syndrome Center for Research and Treatment, along with others, can come to view records and study behaviors with a goal of improving treatment and care of people with Alzheimer’s.

In addition to increased staff to resident ratio, overnight awake staff will help to maintain the highest quality of care.

Those interested in the project can find more information at

Framing Goes Up On First Memory Care Homes in San Diego for Adults with Developmental Disabilities

A Special Collaboration of HomeAid San Diego, Noah Homes and Brookfield Residential

SAN DIEGO, March 29, 2016 – State and local officials gathered at Noah Homes in Spring Valley today to celebrate the start of the vertical build on two of the first memory care homes in the nation for adults with developmental disabilities.

After announcing their $6.7 million capital campaign in January 2015 for campus improvements, building two memory care homes and establishing an endowment, Noah Homes partnered with HomeAid San Diego to facilitate the construction process.  HomeAid San Diego engaged the team of Dahlin Group Architects, homebuilders Brookfield Residential and Murfey Construction, and Schmidt Design Group Landscaping, along with other building professionals to plan and design the two memory care homes – with all design team members completely donating their professional services.  Brookfield Residential in partnership with CalAtantic’s purchasing resources reduced the vertical construction budget by $1 million. More than 35 building and business partners have generated close to $2 million in donated professional services, labor or materials.

The two 5,000 square foot houses will each house 10 residents, who will benefit from state-of-the-art technology, access to national research, and opportunities to participate in groundbreaking new techniques to fight Alzheimer’s, dementia and other aging struggles.  The homes are scheduled to open in early 2017.

“We are hoping to prevent folks with developmental disabilities from joining the more than 8,000 homeless already in need of a permanent home in San Diego,” said Alexis Parker, Executive Director of HomeAid San Diego, a nonprofit dedicated to building multi-unit housing for San Diego’s at-risk populations.  “And we hope to bring more building partners to ‘join the journey’ with us and Noah Homes to make these homes a standard to replicate across the country.”

Noah Homes and the project team turned to Dr. Michael Rafii, Director of the team at the UC San Diego Down Syndrome Center for Research and Treatment, for input on the design of the new homes and the programming that will take place under these new roofs.  Some of the many specializations that will be implemented include infinity pathways to avoid confusion and getting lost, wider hallways and doors, memory games, yoga and music therapy, air motion sensors, silent alarms and other medical features disguised in order to keep a home environment.

“It’s amazing to see the progress being made at Noah Homes,” said Dr. Rafii, Assistant Professor of Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego. “These buildings will serve as models for such homes nationwide, where there is a clear and growing need.”

Studies show that more than 75 percent of those with Down syndrome aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease – nearly six times the percentage of people in this age group who do not have Down syndrome – yet there are currently no memory care homes dedicated specifically to people with developmental disabilities.

“I am proud that San Diego is giving a voice to people with developmental disabilities nationwide, who are living longer than ever and facing aging issues for the first time in history,” said Molly Nocon, CEO of Noah Homes.  “Unfortunately, people with developmental disabilities are entering a broken and ill prepared healthcare system with costly options, if any, and we are working to change that.”

Noah Homes is also working with Alzheimer’s San Diego to develop training guidelines and standards of care through a $1.5 million National Institute of Health grant.  Not only is Alzheimer’s the 6th leading cause of death in the nation, it is the only disease among the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

“Until a cure is found, good care is the best medicine we have.  There are more than 62,000 San Diegans suffering from Alzheimer’s today and a high correlation with those living with Down syndrome, so we are proud to be involved with Noah Homes to improve care in San Diego,” said Mary Ball, President and CEO, Alzheimer’s San Diego.

In addition to the memory care homes underway, Noah Homes has eight existing homes for 70 residents with disabilities ranging from Down syndrome to autism to cerebral palsy.  In order to maintain high standards of care despite state budget shortfalls, Noah Homes raises more than $1 million annually from grants and community donations.

For more information about the builders on this project visit their websites: Brookfield Residential, Murfey Construction, CalAtlantic, Dahlin Group, and Schmidt Design Group.

About HomeAid San Diego: HomeAid SanDiego, one of 18 chapters of HomeAid America, Inc., was founded in 2002 with the support of local building and real estate industry organizations.  HomeAid’s mission of ‘building new lives for at-risk individuals and families through housing and community outreach’ is accomplished by partnering with the building industry and nonprofits who serve these populations, to build multi-unit housing for a reduced cost through the generosity of the building industry, their trade partners, financial institutions, and private and public donors.

About Noah Homes: Noah Homes is leading the way into the future for people with developmental disabilities and their families. As a nonprofit of more than 30 years, Noah Homes is pushing the boundaries of innovative residential care, advocacy and collaborative services.  We are committed to maximizing each individual’s lifelong independence in a community environment that fosters dignity and respect, as well as personal and spiritual growth.

Noah Homes Memory Care Units: The Founding Five

Partner Spotlight—The Founding Five, Noah Homes Memory Care Units (from Noah Homes’s The Compass)

Like many good stories, this one starts with a series of fortunate encounters that, together, become something great. When Molly Nocon, CEO of Noah Homes, became aware of the desperate need for memory care for people with developmental disabilities, she wanted to do more than dream about a solution. She wanted to build two memory care homes on the property at Noah Homes, where 70 adults with developmental disabilities currently live in eight separate homes.

Murfey Construction was recommended to the board at Noah Homes by a long time and committed stake holder, so when the opportunity arose to get involved with a project as special and ambitious as this one, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Murfey Construction was a natural fit to provide both the pre-construction services, as well as, the ongoing construction management services. Currently, Murfey Construction’s commercial general contracting division is leading the massive site work effort necessary to prepare the land at Noah Homes for building the new memory care structures as outlined by the plans. Moving forward, the team at Murfey Construction will stay on board operating as the owner’s representative for the remainder of the construction.

Damien McKinney introduces Molly to Alexis Parker—And it was instant chemistry, Alexis and Molly shared a passion to care for those in need, and with Alexi’s experience in building projects, the two became quick friends.

Alexis Parker connects Molly to the Dahlin Group—Alexis and Molly met with the Dahlin Group, who were already partners with HomeAid San Diego, and asked if they would design the homes for free, to which they sad “YES!”

The Dahlin Group reaches out to Schmidt Design—Dahlin had designed memory care homes in the past, but had more than just free design work up their sleeves. They were also closely connected with Schmidt Design, very talented landscape architects and site planners based out of San Diego. After meeting, Schmidt felt the call and the importance of this project and agreed to offer their services pro bono as well! At this point the ball was rolling and nothing could stop the momentum.

HomeAid San Diego & Brookfield Residential Collaborate—HomeAid San Diego worked closely with Adrian Foley, president and COO of Brookfield Residential and member of HomeAid America Board of Directors, to bring Brookfield aboard as the vertical build partner for the project.

Thank you to the entire build team!

Noah Homes, HomeAid San Diego, Murfey Construction, Dahlin Group, Schmidt Design Group, Inc., Brookfield Residential, CalAtlantic Homes