Donald Borham talks with Jill Babcock at the Open House on January 11.

Two years ago, Helen Chester bought the property at 56 Harshaw Road with the hope of establishing an assisted living facility. The difficulties of licensing such a facility on privately owned property were tremendous, and for awhile it looked like nothing would come of her plan. Recently, however, she concluded an agreement whereby the property has been transferred to housing and health care professional Donald Borham. Borham has modified Chester’s vision by establishing the residence as affordable housing for seniors.

Because of complex licensing requirements and the need for full-time staffing, the process of establishing an assisted living facility at the site may take some time. Although Borham plans to continue to work toward that goal, he has created a way to make good use of the space in the meantime and to begin meeting the need for affordable senior housing.

Sited on a hilltop, the home, built by Carolyn Shafer in 2003, offers a large floor plan with three bedrooms—two singles with a shared bath and a large master suite with a private bath that is well suited for a couple. There is ample parking. Seniors can rent living space in the house for $450 a month, figured on four-person occupancy. Residents will share a large kitchen, a lounge, and recreational space, and Borham, as manager, will be available 24/7 to deal with any issues that might arise. Residents may do their own cooking, and there is hope that transportation can be provided for them to eat lunch at the community center during the week. Other transportation needs can be met by the community center’s van, which already takes seniors to various locations.

Ann Mihalik, Helen Chester, Donald Borman, Carolyn Shafer and Pastor Claire Sullivan

Residents will contract for their own health-related services. Patagonia Assisted Care (PAC) and other independent health services will come whenever they are required, and residents will be billed accordingly. With PAC, residents will be able to share the services of a caregiver, a system that will provide them with significant savings.

Borham says that this housing model is for seniors who no longer wish to maintain their own property but are not ready for nursing home care. Residents will have the benefit of privacy, as well as the security of housemates, in case of a fall or other emergency.

The agreement will compensate Chester for the substantial cost of improvements she made, but the property itself has been transferred as a donation. Borham credits her generous donation as the reason the rentals can be offered at such reasonable cost.

At an open house on January 11, more than 60 interested people stopped by to see what the facility offers, and all seemed impressed with the quality of the home.

Anyone interested can find out more by calling Borham at 520-297-7065 or 520-394-0268 or by email at