GALE ARNOLD, Daughter of Frances Arnold
“No one is really prepared for what can happen to their loved ones at the end of life,” observed Gale Arnold. “But there is no getting around the fact that some elders need constant care in their last years.”
“A Home Sweet Home does it beautifully!”
Gale was particularly impressed with the family setting and the friendly and inclusive atmosphere at this small, intimate foster home. “Sometimes there are children and other folks around, visiting, and there lots of activities going on all the time,” she said. “The people who live there like to sit around the dining room table or visit with each other or friends and family in the living room. The place is full of life and individual attention. Staff is constant, and not changing all the time. People who live there get used to the caregivers who help them with all their needs. It makes them feel connected”
“At A Home Sweet Home, my mother could experience a sense of her own place within a vibrant community. This gave her a sense of belonging.”
“My mother did not suffer from a lot of dementia,” said Gale. “She had a really good social persona. Some people who talked with her thought she didn’t have any dementia at all.”
“My belief is that the elderly all experience some diminished capacity,” she said thoughtfully. But they are still wonderful people inside and relationships and dialogue are really important to them. I observed that connection happening all the time.
“My mother lived at A Home Sweet Home for nine months,” she concluded. “Long enough to birth herself into her spirit body.”
CAROL YEAROUT, Daughter of Roland Harvey
Roland lived at A Home Sweet Home for more than a year before he passed away.
I love Dee Dee!” Carol said with a smile in her voice. “The house itself is beautiful, situated in a neighborhood where anyone would want to live. The high ceilings and granite countertops give the place an airiness which is very soothing.”
“Dee Dee and her staff gave unstintingly of their love to my father,” she said. “They promoted dignity. I used to be a home care aide instructor and am halfway through a doctorate in education. I am therefore very aware of what makes a good caregiver versus an inadequate caregiver. Every, single caregiver at A Home Sweet Home received very high marks from me!”
“I live an hour and a half away from Hood River,” she added, “and I couldn’t always plan when I would visit my father. Every, single time I went to see him, at any time of the day or night, I witnessed people being attended to in a loving, caring manner. I wanted that for my father. Dee Dee is efficient and impressive. My father really enjoyed chatting with the staff, and felt included in their lives. It meant the world to him, and to me.”
“When I get old, I want to go live at A Home Sweet Home,” she declared with a laugh.
Carol says specifically that if anyone wants to talk to her about A Home Sweet Home, she would love to help. Her phone number is 509-250-1984.
WARREN MORGAN, Husband of Mary Clifford
Mary needed extra care as her illness progressed. A rare form of Dementia affecting her front temporal lobe and a form of neurological palsy were making it very hard for her, even in a wheelchair, to move around and engage with her surroundings. She had been staying at a larger care facility in Hood River; when her symptoms were less severe, her care there was good. As her symptoms worsened, Warren felt she needed more individual attention and aid. Mary’s sister, from Portland, had information on A Home Sweet Home. After a consultation Warren moved Mary to A Home Sweet Home. He just can’t say enough for the care and individual attention this smaller foster home provided.
“What a difference!” he raves. “In her previous facility, due to her condition, she couldn’t engage easily with other people. So she spent many hours alone in her room, going out only for meals.”
“At A Home Sweet Home,” he says, “She still followed her usual routine, confined to a chair, still watching TV, but seated in a living room with people all around constantly, doing things, cooking, talking, and taking care of other residents. This situation gave my wife a sense of belonging that, due to her condition, she couldn’t have received at the larger facility.”
“At A Home Sweet Home, Mary easily received the individual care she needed. She always needed assistance getting into and out of her reclining chair and into her wheelchair. She also needed assistance in the bathroom. Because staff was nearby, there was no need to press a button to summon help. She simply called out to whoever was working and a trained caregiver was there right away to assist. Mealtimes were flexible, so if she slept late, breakfast was always waiting. Overall, the situation was much more homelike.”
“She wasn’t alone in her room watching television for fifteen hours a day,” says Warren. “Her sister and I could bring in take-out food and have a quiet personal lunch visit together. When the weather was nice, we could have a picnic on the enclosed outdoor patio. I could easily take Mary for walks in her wheelchair because there isn’t much traffic out there and the sidewalks are new and smooth.”
Although Warren acknowledges that caring for his wife during her last years was terribly difficult for them both, he asserts that A Home Sweet Home made the situation easier and far less stressful.
Mary passed away about a year ago, after living at A Home Sweet Home for a year and a half.
“I will never forget their kindness,” says Warren.
LYRIS WOOLDRIDGE, Niece of Bill
In early 2015, Lyris Wooldridge, RN , of Trout Lake needed to find a home for her Uncle Bill quickly, since she became responsible for his welfare unexpectedly. She called Parkhurst House, and the folks there very kindly gave her the phone number of A Home Sweet Home.
He lived at A Home Sweet Home very happily for almost two years before he passed away in the autumn of 2017.
“He had been a very busy and productive person all his life,” said Lyris. “So the staff at A Home Sweet Home made sure that he was taken for a walk at least once per day, and sometimes twice. It meant a lot to him to remain as physically active as possible.”
“I really liked the way the employees structured the care according to the needs of each resident. It can’t be easy for them to prepare meals whenever they are wanted, day or night. But that’s what they do! It helps the residents maintain a sense of individuality. It makes them feel special at a time when they also may feel very vulnerable.”
“Dee Dee and her staff give so much of themselves-- every, single day,” she went on. “They all have very fine qualities and lots of dedication to their jobs. I am very grateful to them for the wonderful care they gave my uncle during the last two years of his life.”
Craig Ortega’s father was a resident at A Home Sweet Home for about six month before he passed away. He had been living with Craig’s sister, but the 24-hour care grew too overwhelming for the family to manage.
“The level of care at A Home Sweet Home was very good,” said Craig. “At first, it was hard for Dad to make the decision to move, but he quickly felt at home there, and the staff made me and my family feel at home as well. There was kind of an open-door policy. Every time we visited there was a staff member on hand taking care of the residents and welcoming their friends and families.”
“Dee Dee and Ali are really exceptional. They make a special effort to provide outside activities for the residents- like a picnic on the beach, WAAAM, or a dinner out every week or so. They treat everyone like family, and yet are always careful to be respectful of the residents’ dignity, and special individuality.”
“A Home Sweet Home had been recommended to us by one of our friends. One day, when I went to see my dad, I asked him if there was anything he needed.”
“I already have everything I need. She takes care of me,” replied his dad, pointing to Dee Dee.
We were very happy with A Home Sweet Home, and have recommended it to other people,” said Craig.
VICKI JULIEN, Niece of Doris Frankfother
Vicki realized that she was going to have to find a place for her aunt after three ER visits in one month.
After the third emergency, Vicky was told by the medical staff at White Salmon Hospital that her aunt needed constant care. Doris had been living at home with her husband of 62 years, and didn’t want to move, but there was no choice. Her husband recognized the need for immediate action. A thoughtful social worker told Vicky about A Home Sweet Home, and Doris moved in right away. She was only there for about three months before she passed away peacefully in her sleep.
She was very happy there, and actually rallied a little under the kind and individual care provided at A Home Sweet Home. For example, she hadn’t been eating well at all, but they cooked just what she liked and she began to consume a little nourishment. “They took such good care of her,” said Vicky gratefully.
“I really, really appreciate everything that Dee Dee and her staff did at A Home Sweet Home to make my Aunt Doris’s final months very happy ones,” she added.
MILLIE MACGUIRE, Daughter of Audrey Olson
Millie Macguire was anxious to move her mother, Audrey Olson from a care center in The Dalles to one nearer her home in Carson, Washington. Audrey, 96, had broken both hips in two separate falls, so she was pretty immobile and needed a lot of help, plus she suffers from Parkinson’s. In spite of these handicaps, her mind is quite lucid.
Luckily, A Home Sweet Home was able to provide a stopover place for Audrey to reside until Millie found a permanent place for her near Carson. “We needed to have Mom on the Washington side of the river for a lot of reasons, but mainly because I wanted to be able to visit her every day or so,” said Millie.
“We really liked A Home Sweet Home” she added. “It was spotlessly clean, the food was good, and Dee Dee and her staff were very accommodating to the individual needs of their patients. They were all so good to my mother! Dee Dee would take her to doctors’ appointments, which I was always able to attend without the worry of getting Mom in and out of the car. I could depend on her absolutely to have mom to the doctor on time. It was a huge help to me.”
Millie did drive to Hood River frequently to visit her mother at A Home Sweet Home. “It was a long trip for me every day or so, and I was finally able to find a spot for Mom very near my own home. She is happy there, but we are all so grateful that A Home Sweet Home provided a place for her during those crucial couple of months.”
SALLY RUGGLES, niece of Frankie Evans
Frankie Evans is 98 years old. About two years ago, her niece, Sally Ruggles, decided to transfer her aunt to A Home Sweet Home from another facility.
“If I hadn’t been able to move Aunt Frankie there,” says Sally, “I don’t think she would be alive today. Dee Dee has given her a home. Something to live for. She received good care at the other facility, but it was an institution. For example, Aunt Frankie never gets up until 2 PM. At A Home Sweet Home there is a nice warm ‘breakfast’ waiting for her. They can’t do things like that at larger places.”
“Dee Dee smiles at my aunt. She talks to her one-on-one. For Dee Dee and her primary caregiver, Ali, caring for these people is much more than a job. It’s a calling.”
“Residents are taken to the park in summertime, special events like the annual Delta Kappa fund raiser, and to museums such as WAAAM,” adds Sally enthusiastically.
“I can’t find words to express how grateful I am to have people like Dee Dee on this Earth. She is remarkable. I hope I end up at A Home Sweet Home!”
IRENE KURZWEIL, wife of Fred Kurzweil
Irene Kurzweil’s husband, Fred, was a resident at A Home Sweet Home for nearly a year before he passed away. When Irene was told by Fred’s physician that he needed ‘round-the-clock care, she didn’t know where to begin. A caring physician’s assistant mentioned A Home Sweet Home to her, and she put it on her list of facilities to check out because she had a lot of respect for that particular assistant’s opinion.
“A Home Sweet Home was the first place I went to,” she said. “I knew right away that I needed to look no further. I basically have always had a sort of horror about these places. A Home Sweet Home was not anything like I had imagined.”
“There is a relaxed atmosphere there, “she said. “I especially liked that there were no set mealtimes. The food served is fresh and appetizing. Every resident gets individual attention.”
“It always smelled good,” she said. “There were no bad smells—ever. The lighting is great, too, and the design is really convenient and welcoming.”
Irene mentioned that not only Dee Dee, but “everyone who works at A Home Sweet home is pleasant, intelligent, and skilled. We had nice conversations together.”
“After Fred died, I not only missed him, I also missed going to see him at this lovely home. He was very well cared-for, and I felt secure in placing him there. He created some little art projects while a resident, and caregiver Ali Hilden had them framed and hung in his room! Our little dog was allowed to come in and visit, and we could see Fred any time I wanted to.”
“Dee Dee is extremely organized and capable,” she concluded. “I wasn’t physically able to take Fred to doctors’ appointments, so she always met me at the doctors’ offices with him and participated in our conversations about his health.”
SHERRIE CHEVRON, daughter of Bobbie Norton
“A Home Sweet Home was truly the most wonderful place that my mom could have been in. I don’t think there are enough superlatives to describe it.”
“You walk in the door, and there isn’t that medicinal smell. It’s a home. Dee Dee built it especially for memory care patients. It’s not like a facility. Family is always welcome to visit as often as they like. In fact, I grew quite attached to the other residents that came and went when my mother was alive. When I walked out of there each time I had no worries at all in my mind that Mom wouldn’t get the very best care possible.”
“We wanted something small and intimate for my mom. Not a place where you had to be up and out of bed and dressed by a certain time or you didn’t get breakfast. At A Home Sweet Home there are only five residents, and each has his or her own room. They each have their own places at the dining table. They feel special.”
“My mother lived at A Home Sweet Home for one year, and they took wonderful care of her right to the end. There were nice little activities if she wished to join in. Even when Hospice was called in, Dee Dee didn’t give up on my mother. Mom knew that Dee Dee and the staff would always be there for her, and I think it helped her to live longer and more happily than she might have elsewhere.”
“I could go on and on. I can’t say enough about Dee Dee and Ali. I think God led us to A Home Sweet Home.”
Pamela Simpson’s mother, Joan, lived in her own home with lots of help from Pamela and caregivers for two or three years before her Altzheimer’s disease progressed to the point when Pamela could no longer manage.
“When Mom’s dementia progressed I first went to a prominent, local, memory care facility, and came away in tears. Then I remembered that my old friend Dee Dee had opened up a residence for dementia patients, so I called A Home Sweet Home. I went over there with my mother, and was signing her in within 24 hours.”
Dee Dee is extremely intelligent and caring,” she said. “At first, I felt badly about leaving my mother anywhere except her home, so I went to see her about twice a day. Dee Dee tactfully suggested that, while family is always welcomed, I should spend a week away from my mother to allow her to adjust to the change. I went back after a week and found my mom happy, clean, and more lucid than she had been.”
“I know from experience with my mother’s home care, that good caregivers are hard to find. Dee Dee’s assistant, Ali Hilden, is marvelous. Dee Dee is, too!
I am a nutritionist, and I especially appreciate the healthy, home-cooked meals that were provided at A Home Sweet Home. No institutional food at all. They all sat around the dining room table for supper—just like a family. Joan was very happy there right up until she passed away in October. I went to see her every day, and always found her clean and content.
Another thing—family can visit at A Home Sweet Home any time they want. They can come over at midnight if they wish to. They will always be welcomed. So, while I felt badly about moving Mom out of her own home, I am very happy that A Home Sweet Home was exactly that for my mother—a home, like her own home—but better!