“What do we do now?” This is a question that families often ask when faced with a quick decision on how to provide long-term care for an aging loved one.
Decisions regarding long-term care are difficult for families. They often have to make life-changing decisions when their loved one’s health or mental or physical abilities have suddenly declined. Assisted living facilities may require a move when one’s mobility has diminished or behavior issues arise. An injury from a fall or debilitating illness places one in the hospital or a rehabilitation center and due to limited recovery, their previous living arrangements are no longer an option. Quick decisions often have to be made on where their loved one will now live.
Many are unaware of the House of Three care home option where individuals needing long-term care can live together in a home. Our homes are in a neighborhood where three residents have their own private bedroom and a shared caregiver that’s always there for them. Home cooked meals, assistance with daily living activities, and a 3-to-1 resident-to-caregiver ratio allows for quick response and caregiving tailored to the needs and wants of the residents and their families. That’s why we consider the House of Three to be “The Family Solution to Long-Term Care”.
So, before your family is faced with such a decision, consider life at a House of Three. A home where three residents with various levels of independence from needing assistance, to full care, to end-of-life care find compassionate care. A home filled with activity and constant care that is required for disabled seniors who may be experiencing dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinson’s or declining health.
The Renaud family experienced this first-hand when they faced a quick decision in the care and living arrangements for Terry Ann Renaud. About four years ago, Terry Ann experienced an illness that impeded her mobility and ability to return home. The Renaud family discovered the House of Three. It was their Family Solution to Long-Term Care.
Terry Ann lived at the House of Three in Hot Springs for over three and a half years. Last month, our Terry Ann passed away. She is greatly missed. She was a precious soul that demonstrated love of family and concern for others.
A look at Terry Ann’s life at a House of Three may help others see how their loved one can continue to enjoy the natural rhythms of a home, develop friendships and receive the constant care they need.
With Terry Ann’s loss of mobility and the reality of requiring assistance with all daily living activities, she needed long-term care. Her independent living that she had experienced at her home in Arkadelphia with the aid of Group Living, Inc. was no longer an option. Though she had been in the hospital for an extended period of time, the announcement of her discharge date left the family asking, “What do we do now?”
Admittance to a nursing home was not what the family wanted for their daughter and sister. Terry Ann’s physician at UAMS suggested the family make contact with House of Three. He understood that 24-hour assistance was going to be necessary for Terry Ann and that she would need compassionate care coupled with family-like relationships within the home setting of a House of Three. The family did not know such an option existed.
Terry Ann was one of six children born to Terry and the late Betty Renaud. The Renauds are a close family with many nieces and nephews, lots of family gatherings, and Terry Ann loved them all. Throughout her adulthood, her family was attentive to Terry Ann’s unique needs and helped her live as independently as possible. The Renaud family found the House of Three to be their Family Solution to Long-Term Care for Terry Ann.
After Terry Ann lived at House of Three for two years, her sister, Mary Ellen Ware, wrote: “House of Three has been an answer to many prayers from our family. Our developmentally disabled sister became gravely ill two years ago. Unable to walk, House of Three has cared for and loved her ever since. She is so happy. She calls it HER home. The caregivers are truly angels in disguise!!”
When Terry Ann arrived at her new home, her sisters were thorough with lists and suggestions that were invaluable to the caregivers as they got to know her routines and preferences. It did not take long to find out that Terry Ann loved routine. Having just three caregivers allowed her to be cared for by ones who understood her as an individual; her needs, her temperament, her heart. Her spacious suite lovingly decorated by her sisters with familiar furniture, family pictures, Razorback and I Love Lucy decor helped her transition to her new home.
And, oh, what a Razorback fan! There was a time in her life when she knew the name, number, and position of every football player on the team. There are likely few homes, much less care homes, that made any bigger celebrations on a game day than Hot Springs House of Three for Terry Ann. Dressed in one of her many Razorback t-shirts and decked out with her Arkansas jewelry, she would be ready for kick-off!
Terry Ann always looked forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays when she went to The Caring Place, a senior daycare center filled with activities for those experiencing Alzheimer’s and dementia. This bi-weekly outing was so important to her. The first words out of her mouth on these mornings were often, “I get to go to The Caring Place today!”
Terry Ann’s favorite visitor, besides family, was Father Bill Elser, pastor of the Hot Springs Village Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church. Father Bill became acquainted with Terry Ann as he ministered to another of our residents, Ms. Alba, a longtime member at Sacred Heart. After our sweet Alba passed away, Father Bill continued his weekly Sunday visits and communion with Terry Ann. His loyalty and visits were incredibly precious to her.
Terry Ann developed relationships with fellow residents and families. Ms. Carolyn and Terry Ann spent over two years together at their House of Three home. Almost everyday as they were wheeled to the table, Terry Ann would ask, “How is my friend Carolyn?” When someone was ill or nearing their end of life, Terry Ann would show concern about their well-being and their family.
At her House of Three home, she loved to color, play the game Trouble, sit in her recliner and watch episodes of I Love Lucy and Andy Griffith. She also enjoyed flipping through family picture albums and telling all who would listen who were in the pictures. She liked making birthday cards for family members. And, she loved her fudgesicles (pronounced, “fudgicles” in Terry Ann talk). She liked pepperoni pizza, but whatever homecooked meal was prepared, Terry Ann always finished up with a clean plate.
But, it was her family she loved the most, and what a joy it was to watch them love and care for her. Going to “Dad’s” for Sunday brunch was her favorite outing. She loved dressing up and anticipated seeing a house full of family members.
I miss Terry Ann. Each evening, as I would leave the house and head home, Terry Ann would say, “Tell your wife I said, ‘Hi’.” I miss calling the Hogs with her. I will miss watching such a caring family love their sister. I am thankful and honored to have had the opportunity to get to know Terry Ann and the Renaud family.
I thank the Renaud family for letting me share a snapshot of Terry Ann’s life at House of Three. At the Hot Springs Bellaire House of Three home, we now, in so many ways, have an empty spot without Terry Ann. As the Bellaire home awaits for the next resident and family, I wish all would consider the House of Three option. It is The Family Solution to Long-Term Care.
Michael Smedley, Owner and Administrator of Hot Springs House of Three