Last year, a bodybuilder made headlines when he overpowered a would-be carjacker who allegedly flipped a stolen minivan in Dyer and then pulled a woman out of another vehicle he was trying to steal.
Edward "Eddie" McCracken was credited with stopping, putting into a headlock and pinning down a man who was fleeing from police after a reported theft at Jewel-Osco on U.S. 30.
McCracken hasn't foiled any crimes since then.
"I haven't seen my bat signal in the sky," he joked. "I cut back on being a bodybuilder and athlete, and lift once a week and now focus on jiujitsu and mixed martial arts, just in case someone wants to jack my ride again."
But the real estate investor and his wife Janel Robilotta, a nurse and nursing professor, are embarking on a new adventure: starting a business to care for the elderly. They broke ground last week at Two Hearts Homes for Seniors, a residential-style assisted living home in Lowell.
"We decided to combine our two areas of expertise," he said. "I have been investing in real estate for the past 15 years and my wife started off as a caregiver/CNA in high school and college, then became a ER nurse immediately after college, then for the past five years she has been a college professor for nursing. She developed this passion for this particular type of business after all the headaches her family had with moving her grandma around assisted living facilities to find a decent one."
They are building a 16-bedroom "luxury ranch-style" home at 18220 Clark St. in Lowell, in which seniors can get more care and attention than they could at a larger facility. Two Hearts will have about one caregiver per six residents instead of one per 10 to 15 residents, he said.
"We will be providing more of a personalized care with the feeling as if you were living in your own home," McCracken said. "So instead of moving a loved one to a huge 100-bed facility with long hallways, elevators, lots of other residents to take care of and overworked staff, you will be a person in our home. Some of these larger homes look nice when you walk in. They have a Starbucks or pool that grandma or grandpa will never visit. But it's so large your loved one is neglected and they have to take their walker down the hall and down the elevator to do even simple things."
McCracken said the concept was popular across the United States, particularly in the south, but had not yet caught on in Indiana or Illinois.
Two Hearts will employ around 17 people, including a chef who will prepare food for the residents. A therapy dog will provide comfort. Each room will have a private bathroom and there will be a common area for yoga, bingo, puzzles and other activities.
"We don't want people sitting around in their room being depressed," he said.
The assisted living facility will not provide medical services, but will assist patients in setting up and — if needed — getting to medical appointments. Caregivers there will offer assistance with daily living, such as getting dressed, grooming and showering.
Construction should be completed in six to eight months, and Two Hearts should open in 2020.
For more information, call 219-600-2200 or visit www.twohearts.care.