Anne LaFollette is getting plugged in to her new surroundings at Good Samaritan Society – Estes Park in Colorado.
“I grew up in Ohio, so this is different,” Anne says.
A few health scares have brought the 89-year-old to the mountain setting to be near family.
When she was a resident at the Society’s Loveland location an hour away, she felt “off” one Sunday.
“Next day I had gallbladder surgery,” Anne says.
That turned into an extended illness.
“Some sort of an abdominal infection which was really, really hard to get rid of,” Anne says.
When Anne was well enough to leave the hospital but not healthy enough to be on her own, Anne’s daughter found respite care services in Estes Park.
“Ten minutes from her house. So that was kind of a no-brainer,” Anne says. “That’s much better than an hour away through Big Thompson Canyon. The place is great.”
What is respite care?
Administrator Julie Lee says her location has four respite care units and they've been staying fairly full.
“Respite care is a program that allows residents to fill the gaps when they’re in between services,” Julie says.
Meals, medications and more are taken care of during the stay.
“Another benefit for respite services would be for a caregiver. If a loved one is at home who may be suffering from dementia or cognitive impairment, or maybe they just have some physical challenges that are keeping their loved one up all night, they can have them come stay for a short period of time,” Julie says.
Families coming to Colorado during the tourism season can also bring their loved ones, needing care, with them.
Respite is working out for Anne, who’s now graduated to an independent living apartment with a mountain view and some new four-legged friends.
“They were here yesterday morning," Anne says about the local elk. "There must have been 40-50 of them out here grazing."
'More personal, more thoughtful and more caring'
She’s also finding support from the staff, especially medication aide turned housekeeper Rhonda Harding.
“One evening she came in and said we’re going to have sticky buns tomorrow morning. They are really, really good. Would you like to get up for one?" Anne remembers before replying. "No, I don’t want to. So, about 9 o’clock (a.m.) here came Rhonda with a sticky bun which she had put aside in the kitchen for me. She didn’t have to do that. She had 40 other things to do. She knew that I would enjoy a sticky bun."
Rhonda adds Anne, “was having a hard time walking and I thought well I’ll just bring you one of the sticky buns."
The small gesture made a big impact.
“Those little things make it more personal, more thoughtful and more caring,” Anne says.
The feedback meant a lot to Rhonda too.
“Fantastic that she would do that, she would say that. Almost brings a tear to my eye. It just means a lot to me that it meant a lot to her,” Rhonda says.
Going out of your way to make someone feel at home.
“Really, really try to do the little things that make it special,” Anne says.
Sewing forward, Anne is feeling good and back at her crafting table making items for a local fundraiser.
“I really, really enjoyed doing the craft work for Loveland Village so I’ll be doing that again for next year,” Anne says.