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At 101, Adelina Filocamo and her dog Marco walking on a leash by her side are a familiar sight at Shallotte Assisted Living.
Connecticut natives Nick and Lillian Szeszkowski celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary this past September.
And Isaac Hardy, 72, is known for the regular walks he goes on around Shallotte, returning to the Mulberry Street facility later in the day.
These are just a few of the residents at Brunswick County’s oldest assisted living facility, which is licensed for 80 beds and has 70 residents at any given time, said David Goldston, executive director.
Tucked at the end of the street in a one-story red-brick building, the facility is home for many who rely on Medicaid, so funding is always tight.
“About 30 percent is privately funded; the rest is Medicaid,” Goldston said, adding it’s a primarily elderly population that resides there.
“Medicaid residents get a very small personal needs allowance,” he said. “It doesn’t leave room for a whole lot.”
The community, he said, often pitches in to offer assistance, including various volunteers, churches and civic groups like the Knights of Columbus.
“They come in and do all kind of great things for us, and it helps,” he said.
Proceeds from yard sales go into special residential funds to be used as needed for residents.
In addition, “I do most of the men’s haircuts,” Goldston said. “I do that to offset the costs.”
A beautician provides services for the women who live there.
“Elderly men are accustomed to a barber,” Goldston said. “So this helps them cut costs.”
On a recent afternoon, Goldston announced over an intercom system it was time to do men’s haircuts and for interested residents to meet him in a small room that serves as a dual salon/barbershop.
“There’s only one style,” Goldston said of his haircutting expertise prior to getting busy with the clippers on assorted heads. “It’s called short.”
With the current economy, “we are really having to get creative with ways to even meet some of the basic needs that aren’t already met here,” he said.
There are always unforeseen expenses, such as unexpected doctor care or medical equipment that Medicare or Medicaid won’t cover.
Employees at the facility are pretty much on the same page “as far as things above and beyond what we do as a group, from pharmacy on to cut the costs for the residents as much as we can,” Goldston said.
He estimates about 20 percent of the residents have no family support.
“You never know what you’re going to see with families,” he said. “It can range from daily involvement to one or two times a year. We do the best we can. It’s not an easy industry. It’s struggling just like any other industry.”
During the holidays, the facility welcomes local churches that come to entertain residents, as well as a local garden club that always buys table arrangements for the whole building.
Matresse McAllister, administrator at Shallotte Assisted Living, said volunteers donate time to come out and visit with some of the residents, especially ones who don’t have family living nearby.
They also welcome any caroling groups, or anyone who would like to lead residents in arts and crafts projects, McAllister said.
Their facility is a reminder “there’s a whole lot of need right here” in Shallotte, Goldston said.
Anyone who would like to share with the residents during the holidays, or any other time, “that’d be great,” McAllister said.