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Grants Pass adult foster home reopens

The state has reinstated one of two Grants Pass adult foster homes suspended March 1 after the death of an elderly Alzheimer's patient who walked away from the facility.

Home on the Rogue, 2868 Rogue River Highway, has been back in business for about a month, after the state Department of Human Services lifted the suspension.

Kirk and Joni Sager established Home on the Rogue five years ago to provide active lives for elderly men, but the owners are no longer married and Joni Sager independently operates Home on the Rogue.

DHS said Kirk Sager "does not manage or have access to" Home on the Rogue, thus the suspension of operations should apply only to Kirk Sager's Heart of a Man adult foster home at 311 Avenue de Teresa.

Donald DuBose, 83, walked out of Heart of a Man Feb. 17 when alarm systems failed, resulting in a three-day search. His body wasn't found until March 16 on the lower Rogue River.

Meanwhile Kirk Sager said he hopes to eventually be back in business.

"It was a tragic accident that happened," Sager said.

Families of his residents expressed support for Sager when the state shut down the residence, and were also critical of how DHS handled it. Family members of residents and other care workers wrote "amazing" letters to the state, Sager said.

Two of the former residents are now at Home on the Rogue, both Sagers confirmed. Another is in a place where "his needs are being met," Kirk Sager said.

A fourth is staying at Heart of a Man with Sager, not as a foster resident but a "room and board" tenant, he said.

According to Gene Evans, DHS spokesperson, the agency will be filing a notice of intent to revoke Kirk Sager's license, which starts a 60-day due process in which Sager can appeal.

Sager said he will.

"I want to reopen, absolutely. It's my passion," he said.

Sager's program for older men has involved raft trips, fishing trips and numerous other excursions.

In a 2012 article published in the Daily Courier, Sager said, "I love that philosophy. Let's flat out live. If they want to do it, we'll do it."

DuBose's disappearance was the second to occur from Heart of a Man.

Frank Rosales, an 88-year-old who suffered from dementia, went missing for 30 hours in November 2014 before being found in good condition along the railroad tracks near Foothill Boulevard.

Reach reporter Jeff Duewel at 541-474-3720 or jduewel@thedailycourier.com