Shady Rest Institute on Positive Aging

Investing in the Workforce Supporting Older Adults

The generous contributions of the Shady Rest Foundation - $4.1 million to support student scholarships and $5 million to establish and Institute on Positive Aging - allow our faculty, staff, and students to significantly influence how older adults are treated in Southwest Florida.

In June 1958, Shady Rest Nursing Home was opened by Lee County in order to provide care to the indigent residents of Lee County. The facility was constructed on property located at the north-west corner of the Page Field Airport. In October 1974, the addition of twenty-five beds was completed in response to a long waiting list created by community need for the facility's services. Shady Rest was the only facility owned by Lee County to accommodate the needs of elderly individuals who could not afford to pay for health care.

By 1993, the need for this type of facility in Lee County grew beyond the capacity of the old buildings and construction began on a new 180-bed facility that opened in May 1994. This building was built with a special care unit, currently 44 beds, designed for residents with Alzheimer's or other dementia diseases that require a secure environment with structured activities. The remaining beds, currently 136 beds, were designated to provide both short-term and long-term nursing care and short-term rehabilitative services.

In April 1998, at the request of Lee County officials who wished to privatize the organization, an Advisory Board comprised of Lee County citizens from various backgrounds was formed to begin the process.   The Advisory Board became a full governance board on October 1, 1998 with the creation of a private non-profit corporation named Shady Rest Care Pavilion, Inc. In the privatization, the facility's license was transferred to the new corporation with the real and personal property leased from the County.

Since its privatization on October 1, 1998, the organization has met an objective of becoming financially sound without tax support from Lee County citizens while maintaining high quality care for its patients and residents. The Directors, in addition to management and staff, have continued the tradition and mission "to provide the citizens of Lee County access to high quality, cost effective skilled nursing and rehabilitative services". Many long time Fort Myers citizens are or have been residents of the facility.

Robert Murray who is the current President of the Shady Rest Foundation, was also one of the original members of the Advisory Board.

As a result of the successful transition and management of Shady Rest, the County agreed to sell the facility to the operator in late 2004. Local Industrial Development Bond funding was established to secure the acquisition. At this point the Shady Rest Foundation Inc. was created to be the holder of the physical assets.

In October 2009, the name of the facility was changed to Page Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center.  The purpose of this name change was to make the facility more marketable in the current healthcare environment and provide consumers with a better idea of the services provided by the facility. The name "Page" also reflected the geographic location of the facility since it was located across from Page Field General Aviation Airport in south Fort Myers.

Due to the nursing home business becoming more litigious, reduction of Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement rate and other business challenges, the facility and operating corporation of Page Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center was sold at the end of 2018.

Picture of Robert Murray
Image of Dr. Jo Stecher
Vice President
Picture of Sheila Carlon
Dr. Arie VanDuijn