Moving Day, 2018

The new year brought big changes. Kim had found a facility that was shutting down and we quickly jumped on the opportunity to move into a place already built and suited to our needs. We went from leisurely planning a dream building, to full blown moving mode quick! We had also been admitting quite a few new residents that were presenting new challenges. We also found a round of new neighbors that were very vocal about their concern over us operating in their neighborhood. It was a lot to take in. I tried to keep our daily routine as normal as possible in our house and we talked a great deal about what some of the changes would look like. I spent a lot of time worrying how the move would affect our residents. Then our house manager left.

Mark had been with us for a couple of years. He left maybe once or twice a month for an hour or two but was otherwise always on the property. He could be gruff, was super opinionated and had no filter. He was well loved in our home and he could be counted on for almost anything. He left one afternoon and said he’d be back in a couple of hours. When it had begun to get late, we finally checked his room after our calls went unanswered and discovered he had moved out.

From the get-go Kim was adamant that we were not going to sneak into the neighborhood and made all efforts to be as transparent as possible and address everyone's concerns. I will admit, I am incredibly protective and defensive of our residents and the meetings and comments were difficult for me. I am proud of the fact that we have never had a major incident with any of our residents. I tried my best to shield our residents from comments that would make them feel less than welcome. It was difficult and there was a lot of concern. June 1st was move in day for our residents and me. We had a couple of residents that walked in and decided it wasn’t for them. It was a lot bigger and so different from our tiny home we had been accustomed to. Then, word was out that we had more beds available and we received even more referrals. In an effort to ease in and get our feet on the ground we increased our census very slowly.

We added a new house manager, John and luckily, he has stuck with us and is still here! Our first Christmas we had trees everywhere instead of the one we could barely fit at the old house. We lost Mike Oman that year on Christmas. His wife had not moved in with us until he had been here a couple of months and had been battling cancer herself. I am glad she was able to be with him. She stayed for a while after he died and even worked with us while she adjusted. I am happy to report, she is doing well. This was also the year that Ms. Kay moved back in with us. After having left us and moving throughout several other facilities she had decided to travel. She fell asleep on a Greyhound on her way to Florida but somewhere in Tennessee her purse was stolen, and she ended up landing there. She had spent one cold winter there and the police chief couldn’t stand to see her suffer another. He contacted us and I reached out to one of our local chiefs and he got her a ticket back! I had followed Ms. Kay facility to facility until she disappeared and had spent a year trying to track her down, so I was thrilled to have her back with us.

One of my favorite stories from 2019 was about David. He had come to the INN for respite but quickly went on service with hospice. His decline was fairly quick, and his hospice agency asked if he had a wish. He asked for a police scanner. David had spent time in prison and struggled with substance abuse. A few people in the house made fun of his wish and a few felt like there was some sort of scheme behind it. David passed in February of that year, the same day as one of our younger residents also named David. The scanner was picked up by the agency and I thought that was the end of the story. When we got to the new building and had been here a few months I received a call from a woman. It was David’s sister. She had read his obituary and read about the scanner. She was sobbing as she recalled that when they were growing up, their back deck overlooked the valley. Every evening she and David would sit with their parents and listen to the scanner and watch the lights correspond with the calls. It made her so happy to know that his dying wish was something that connected him to his memories growing up.

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