Saturdays with Grandma

This past month, we said an emotional goodbye to our dear friend, Sylvia. Sylvia and her family have been with us from the very start of Our Family Home. During her time in our home, Sylvia helped us realize the importance of our mission to deliver compassionate care to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia; and, more importantly, that Our Family Home is home.

We talked with Sylvia’s daughter, Cindy, about her experience:

“It was her home. We tried three other larger, institutional facilities before coming to Our Family Home. The experience was very different with OFH. We could tell early on that this home was now my mom’s home.”

In fact, each Saturday, three generations would come together for visits with grandma. “Just like at home, the adults would sit on the patio outside and talk while the kids played ball in the backyard,” added Cindy.

“The staff was so welcoming. They always had my mom dressed and ready for us. My mom had six daughters. At times, I think my mom actually thought some of the staff were her children.”

The family also enjoyed spending holidays together. “We celebrated every holiday with my mom at Our Family Home. We had an Easter egg hunt at the house, grilled hamburgers outside over the Fourth of July and even brought the kids in their Halloween costumers with treats for the residents. At Christmas time, we had gifts for all of the staff as well. They were our family too.”

“When my niece got married my mom was unfortunately unable to attend the service. So my niece and her new husband put their wedding attire back on the next day and came to the house for pictures and to spend time with my mom.”

Caring about the people we have in our homes is as much about their physical and mental health as it is about their livelihood. “We can’t express how much we appreciate Our Family Home for taking loving care of our mother and grandmother. You were there every day for seven years. You were there for every meal. You were there every morning and every night. You tucked her into bed, combed her hair, bathed her, held her hand, dressed her, fed her, and most of all you made sure that she knew she mattered.”

“You made her feel like a person not a burden. You made her feel wanted and comfortable in her own home. This was her home and you were her family in all the ways that matter.”

Holly & Pat’s Story

Julie with her mother, Pat, and Our Family Home caregiver, Holly.

Eleven years ago, I set out to create a place where people affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia could receive the compassionate, personalized care they deserved. I knew going into it that this vision couldn’t become a reality without the special touch of gentle and well-trained caregivers. Together, we have created a new model for care that prioritizes a person’s livelihood and strives to give families more good days despite a disease that takes so much.

This is why we are so honored to share Holly and Pat’s story. We received this letter from Pat’s family:


“I met Holly when my mom, Pat, moved into Our Family Home in 2017. Those first few weeks were an adjustment for everyone with med changes, crying and (at times) outbursts.  Throughout the entire transition, I never saw Holly flinch. Instead, Holly seemed to take a deep breath and quietly demonstrate to my mom that she was there for her, usually with a gentle touch or a quiet word. I have witnessed the calming effects these actions have on my mom more than once.

During the past six months with Our Family Home, I have watched Holly provide care that I would describe as “compassionate, gentle love” for her residents. From the cute nicknames she gives each resident to her infectious laugh and gentle touch, Holly is special. There are three occasions that specifically stand out and demonstrate her care.

For Thanksgiving brunch, I took my mom to a friend’s home. After a very exhausting outing, we returned to OFH.  I will NEVER forget walking up to the front door, seeing Holly pop up from the couch and fling open the front door. Her arms were wide open, and with her signature giggle almost singing, “Welcome home, Pat. We missed you!”  I was so happy to see my Mom walk right into those arms, filled with genuine love.

My mom likes to “hang” with Holly. Many times last summer and fall I would stop by after work to find my mom sitting at the kitchen table chatting with Holly. Often times when I call to check on my mom or to say hello to her, Holly will answer and say, “She is right here. Would you like to say hello?”  She is often right by Holly’s side. I believe my mom responds to all the conversation and interaction Holly provides to her and to the other residents.

Last month when Mom suffered what we believe was a seizure, I witnessed Holly’s “compassionate, gentle love” more than ever before.  When I arrived at her home, I could sense the angst in that moment. I went back to my mom’s room, and the team brought me up to speed on what had happened.  My mom was lying in bed, visible upset. After a few minutes of this and trying to figure out what she wanted, I looked around the room and noticed Holly crouched down at the bottom of the bed. She was gently massaging my mom’s legs. In that moment, I instantly knew my mom needed a hug. I leaned down over her, and after several minutes, she relaxed and went to sleep.

I was so worried my Mom had had a stroke. However, 40 minutes later she woke up, and said, “I need to go to the bathroom,” and Holly was there to make that happen!

I feel so blessed that my Mom is at Our Family Home and that God saw fit for us to know Holly and experience her compassionate, gentle love.”