Were it not for the frequent visits by remodeling crews and a new handicap ramp leading to the front door, the neighbors might not have noticed anything unusual about the large brick ranch-style house at 6535 Evening St.

Were it not for the frequent visits by remodeling crews and a new handicap ramp leading to the front door, the neighbors might not have noticed anything unusual about the large brick ranch-style house at 6535 Evening St.

Some Worthington Estates residents, however, became curious about what was happening to the recently purchased vacant house and called the city.

They learned that the new "family" moving in will be five unrelated older people who have dementia or Alzheimer's disease. They will receive assistance with daily living from nursing assistants who will be at the home at all times.

Owner Evan DuBro said two assistants usually would be at the house.

This will be DuBro's third "Our Family Home," each of which provides home-based, state-licensed care for five dementia and/or Alzheimer's patients. One has been on Worthington-Galena Road in Worthington since October 2010.

All are in areas zoned for single-family residential uses and meet the requirements of Worthington's Planning and Zoning Code, according to an opinion written by Donald Phillips, chief building officer of Worthington. The code allows up to five unrelated persons to occupy a single-family home. "Domestic servants employed on the premises" are not included when counting the persons living in the home.

Because the usage meets requirements with no variances needed and because the house is not in the Architectural Review District, no public hearing is required, City Manager Matt Greeson said.

Greeson said rumors about the house being used as a home for mentally ill adults or for unruly children have been squelched, but some people still are concerned about the unknown.

"The neighborhood is concerned about the change," he said. "That house and neighborhood are characterized by owner-occupied homes. This represents a change."

Neighborhood leaders like Fred Yaeger have communicated with residents. He sent 47 emails to people living in the area. The house is on the northwest corner of Evening Street and Bryant Avenue.

Yaeger received six responses. Some expressed concern; some were neutral; and others were supportive, he said.

DuBro has agreed to take three residents on a tour of the home sometime after June 30.

Five older people are prepared to move into the home at the end of July, he said.

DuBro is a central Ohio resident and former nursing home administrator who said he believes people with dementia and/or Alzheimer's disease deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to live in a residential community.

He opened the first Our Family Home in the Berwick neighborhood of Columbus five-and-a-half years ago, when his own mother needed assistance.

Studies show that older people with memory disorders do better in noninstitutional home settings, he said.

Residents receive more attention than they possibly could in a nursing home and thrive as they live in the kind of world in which they always have lived, he said.

"Just because someone is old and needs assistance doesn't mean they have to be institutionalized," he said.

States like California and Texas are leading the movement to bring the elderly back into the community, he said.

DuBro and Greeson said he has heard no complaints from neighbors about the "family home" on Worthington-Galena Road.

"We're great neighbors," DuBro said. "We keep our homes beautiful."

It might be time for the city to address the changing demographic pressure to care for older people in their communities, Greeson said.

"We may need to look at that section of the code and discuss if and how we want to regulate that kind of use in our neighborhoods," he said.