LAKEHURST – After more than a year of planning and renovation, the former site of the LaBove Grande banquet hall that sits on the Route 70 and Union Avenue circle has officially opened following its transformation into the Beacon of Life Center.
A special grand opening/ribbon cutting ceremony was recently held featuring Borough Mayor Harry Robbins and a number of special guests for the new facility based at 800 Route 70 that will serve as a senior daycare facility for residents in Ocean and Monmouth counties.
Like its Monmouth County counterpart in Oceanport, the facility’s mission is to provide the newest healthcare and social service choices for elders.
Beacon of Life President Dan Czermak said, “it was a real challenge. Lakehurst is a small town. They take pride in their town. The PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) program is all over Ocean County and covers a lot more territory than Lakehurst. Being part of the community is always important to me and the mayor and council have been very welcoming. There are great things that will be happening for both the community as well as the people who work here.
“(We help) get a better quality of life for a generation that is now needing more long-term care services and dignity that they want to maintain their home. We have such a huge population of seniors in our area that really needs good services and this wraps all the services around the medical, homecare, dietician, rehab under one roof – and help to their families, which is very important,” Czermak said
The new facility’s program staff consists of medical doctors, nurses, social workers, a recreation director and aides as well as physical, occupational and speech therapists.
The staff also includes dieticians, a home care supervisor, companions, certified home health aides, transportation drivers, a kitchen manager, marketing and enrollment, housekeeping, and other support services.
The facility also has a day center that offers breakfast, lunch, and daily activities. Some participants choose to accept services from their home, while some will be on site to partake in the daily activities offered and to visit with a provider, or meet with a Social Services director to assist with helping to set up Food Stamps, utility bill expenses and other needs.
Following the official ribbon cutting ceremony which featured Mayor Robbins, Manchester Councilman James Vaccaro, Czermak and other dignitaries several presentations were made in dining room area.
“I want to say how impressed I am. This facility is phenomenal. I used to come here quite a bit when it was La Bove and what a difference. These types of facilities play a very important part in communities,” Mayor Robbins said.
“I noticed this first hand; my mother had dementia and was living in Florida. I brought her home to New Jersey to be near her family but she got to the point where she could no longer live by herself. I looked at places all around here in Ocean County and none of them hold a candle to what you have here,” the mayor added.
Mayor Robbins turned the microphone over to State Senator Robert Singer (R-30th) who said, “this is not a new program for me because I was on the board for their Monmouth County facility so I am quite familiar with the work you do and your staff. You touch people in a very special way and you are caring people.
“I can tell you that I was so thrilled when they got tracked to do Ocean County with our large senior citizen population. It is so welcoming here. There are thousands and thousands of seniors that desperately need this kind of program,” Senator Singer added. “What has always impressed me is that it allows families to stay together and allows families to work every day who have seniors that they take care of, and allows certain seniors to stay in their own home. It is a caring program.”
The center was established to deliver PACE services. The PACE model is centered on the belief that it is better for the well-being of seniors with chronic care needs and their families to be served in the community whenever possible.
PACE participants must receive all needed health care, including primary care and specialist physician services (other than emergency services) from the PACE organization or an entity authorized by the PACE organization.
PACE is a nationally recognized program with over 160 organizations. Beacon of Life is the seventh operational PACE program in the state and its flagship site in Monmouth County has been operational for seven years.
For a client to be eligible for the PACE program they must be 55 years or older, live in the PACE service area (Monmouth or Ocean County), and meet nursing home level of care.
“PACE participants may be fully and personally liable for the costs of unauthorized or out-of-PACE services. Emergency services are covered,” according to their website.
The day’s celebration featured tours of the facility, singers who performed, a luncheon and raffles for various special gift packages.
As Mayor Robbins noted, for decades, the building that now houses the center was known as LaBove Grand and The Circle Landmark Restaurant. It hosted many special events and was one of the more upscale banquets and catering halls in this section of Ocean County. The business established by brothers Jerry and Luigi Bove in 1989 shut its doors in the spring of 2019.