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Optimae offers opportunities for independent living

Communities are strongest when their citizens are connected — when individuals have a sense of belonging and a valued role. When neighbors look out for one another.

Optimae LifeServices has been forming community connections and advocating for individuals for more than 30 years.

As a health care and human services provider, Optimae — through its community-based, behavioral health and home health services — equips individuals with supports and services that encourage choice, empowerment and community integration.

Founded in the mid-1980s as ResCare, the company initially provided disability services, first managing residential care facilities in Jefferson and Wapello counties in 1987 and in Washington County in 1988. The late 1980s brought expansion of services, with Optimae adding supported community living services in Jefferson, Wapello and Washington counties to offer more independent living opportunities in the community.

This move to more independence for the individuals Optimae serves continued, with a focus on community-based living in later years. The company replaced many of its residential care facilities in southeast Iowa with independent housing, providing people served in the community with safe and affordable options.

Believing that health care takes many forms, Optimae continued to expand. In 1989, Optimae began managing the Davis County residential care facility, later turning the facility into Davis Center, a specialized nursing home for individuals over age 65 who have a severe and persistent mental illness.

The 1990s brought additional offerings, with Optimae receiving accreditation to provide home- and community-based services and mental health services. In the early 1990s, Optimae began providing supported employment services through Supporting the Employment Process (supported employment has since expanded to Optimae-run microbusinesses, such as Coal Palace Café and Books in Ottumwa). In the late 1990s, the company was designated the community mental health provider for Henry and Jefferson counties (along with Des Moines, Louisa, Muscatine and Van Buren counties).

Today, Optimae continues to work “at the side, on the side” of the individuals it serves, the workers it employs and the communities it calls home.

Starting in July, Optimae’s Behavioral Health division will provide mental health crisis assessment to the people of Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Louisa, Van Buren and Washington counties (counties within the Southeast Iowa Link Mental Health and Disability Services Region).

“Optimae has experience in providing service throughout the region and will be able to hit the ground running,” said Ryanne Wood, SEIL Region CEO. “Highly trained and experienced therapists who are familiar with local resources will not only provide crisis assessment, they also will connect individuals in crisis to the service and supports that are needed.”

Optimae professionals will respond to calls requesting mental health crisis assessments from participating hospitals, law enforcement, SEIL coordinators of disability services and other providers. Individuals who believe they or people they are helping need this service can reach out to any of these agencies or contact their local Optimae office for help.

Optimae Behavioral Health also operates open-to-all recovery and resource centers in Burlington and Fairfield (which are SEIL-funded), as well as Bloomfield and Centerville.

For those requiring services to age in place or recover at home, Optimae Home Health offers multiple options in southeast Iowa, including nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, home care aides and homemaker services. Southeast Iowa offices are located in Burlington, Fairfield and Washington, with counties served including Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Iowa, Jefferson, Johnson, Keokuk, Lee, Louisa, Mahaska, Muscatine, Van Buren, Wapello and Washington.

For more information or to apply for services or employment, visit

The Optimae Life Services office can be found at 301 W. Burlington Ave. in Fairfield. (Photo courtesy of Kent Davis)