When Andy was born in 1966, the pediatrician advised his parents to institutionalize him; that was common advice to parents with a child born with Down Syndrome more than 50 years ago. But that wasn’t to be. His parents sought support to care for their child and found that tenfold within the Rochester community. Andy is now in his late fifties and has called the Heritage Christian home on Stone Road his home for more than 24 years. His mobility has changed with age, so much so that he had to move from his room on the second floor to a room on the first floor to ensure he can readily exit in an emergency. Andy’s mother and siblings find tremendous comfort in knowing Andy is well cared for, and will be for the rest of his life. They thank God for the exceptional care he receives and for the expertise, guidance, and—most importantly—the love they rely on from HCS staff to help Andy navigate the challenges of aging in place.
Ricky was only 40 years old when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. As his Alzheimer’s related dementia progressed, he was able to stay in his home of 10 years, surrounded by his longtime housemates and staff who loved and supported him. His housemates were there for him, right through his final days. When he passed away peacefully, it was in the comfort of his own room, surrounded by everyone he loved.
Can you imagine what such love and care has meant to Andy, Ricky and their friends and families?
Equally meaningful is respecting their desires to stay in their homes while facing health challenges and the end of their lives with dignity and comfort.
We are extraordinarily privileged we could accommodate their wishes.
It reflects the very heart of our mission: To ensure that Andy, Ricky and the other individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in Heritage Christian supported homes will face their end of life with dignity, comfort and grace. That has been our focus for the 39 years we have offered supportive home environments. And we’re proud to continue our commitment to support individuals where they live, up to their last days.
However, many of the homes that were once considered state of the art, and highly sought after, are no longer ideal to accommodate the individuals we support throughout the full continuum of their lives.
More than half of those we support in residential services are living with medical complexities—and over 60% of them are age 50 or older. While we’re exceptionally pleased with the medical advances that have extended life expectancies, we are still challenged to provide them the opportunity to stay in their homes while facing chronic and life-threatening health issues or end-of-life care.
Providing support and care to people living in two-story homes and homes with non-accessible hallways, rooms, and bathroom facilities are heavy burdens for the people living there and the staff alike.
While we have been able to provide comfort and hospice care in our residential homes, we need to make changes that will enhance that care. We need to build new single story accommodations that improve our ability to provide the highest quality of care when it’s needed most.
We anticipate that the renovations and new builds will support some 400 people for the next 60 years.
With more than half of our current residents over the age of 50, the need to act is urgent.
Providing that care at such a vulnerable time is paramount to us. There will be less disruption in homes with open floor plans, and more accessible space will help lessen the dependency on frontline staff—while both maintaining a high level care and reducing disruption for all of the people living there.
These changes won’t change what we do. Rather, it will change how we’re best able to do it.
In addition to better serving those already living in our supported homes, we also need to be able to help more families find the right home setting for their loved ones.
The solution is simple, and we hope you will help.
We want to upgrade and modernize eight homes and build four new ones to ensure residents may age in place, maintain their quality of life and receive the best end-of-life care. These new and renovated homes will improve the livability and accessibility for individuals and their families, while also making us more efficient. Imagine how safer, open floor plans with increased accessibility—and all on one floor—would enhance our ability to provide care to people in need.
To accomplish this construction and renovation, we need to raise $9.1 million through our Homes with Heart campaign. We anticipate that the renovations and new builds will support 400 people for the next 60 years. With more than half of those we support residentially over the age of 50, the need to act is urgent. But make no mistake, this is not merely a campaign to update and build residential homes.
This is about ensuring that those we support may be afforded the same high-quality options to age in place and receive the end-of-life care at home that you and I want for ourselves and our families.
Time and again, our families tell us the peace of mind and confidence they have in the care we offer to their loved ones who live in our homes. We are proud of that trust, and we look forward to continuing this vital work in even better environments.
Ultimately, this is about ensuring equity to face some of the most daunting challenges the individuals and families we serve will ever deal with.
This is about ensuring that Andy, Ricky and others like them continue to be surrounded with loved ones in their cherished homes—homes designed to provide the highest level of care when it’s needed most.
This is about ensuring that we can continue to serve people and families who need supportive housing.
This is about creating homes with heart. Do you have the heart to help?
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