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I sure want to thank you (and all of your crew) for all that you've done to work with my father and to try to help and encourage him to make Elderhaus a part of his daily routine. Mostly, though, I must pat you on the back for what you continue to do. In these times of budget shortcomings and medical system meltdown -- within our fine society where many elders are parked and forgotten in “full-care rest homes” -- your very big/little place of work is a breath of fresh air, and a flash of comforting light for many families. You have got to be very proud of what you all accomplish there.
Doug F, the son of a participant

 

About  |  Client Stories

 

A Son
To help you understand the good that Mindset Creative Community Resources at Elderhaus has done for John, I have to tell you how things were and how things have improved. Previously, John constantly obsessed about mean kids who taunted and bullied him in junior high. He did not speak up about his wants or needs, but instead felt he had to agree with everything. (He would say he wanted green beans, but he would leave them on the plate.) He would act as if there was a zone around him that prohibited him from getting water in the kitchen unless I moved away. He wouldn’t “enter my space” or stand beside me to get the water.

I wanted him to break free, and tried to make it possible by talking to him, but talking wasn't enough. We were bound to patterns that needed gentle breaking. He needed the assurance that people outside of the family would accept him and be nice to him -- genuinely like him.

His participation at Mindset at Elderhaus has meant positive change. He no longer obsesses about mean kids from junior high. He talks about happy things and even focuses on happy events from his childhood. This is because, through Mindset and its people, he knows he’s found a place outside our home where he feels safe, accepted and appreciated. He can now tell me he doesn’t want green beans, broccoli or other things he doesn’t like. He can tell me he wants to watch a movie, even it I want to watch T.V. He’s growing to recognize and respect his own individual wishes and ideas. (This may seem small, but this is really huge progress.) He now “works around me” in the kitchen, and will even say, “I’m working around you.”  Many times I've said, “Just work around me,” but he didn’t know how prior to his group cooking class at Mindset. I knew how to tell him, but I didn’t know how to teach him. He needed the experience of working in a group and around other people. He now feels comfortable sharing space. (I sometimes wonder if his illness makes depth perception challenging… perhaps not. I just know that through the experience he has developed increased comfort and confidence in working with people and objects.) Perhaps he’s realized he’s got a rightful place in the kitchen, which previously he may have felt was only under my “province.”

Over the years, I have tried to make him feel confident and encouraged him, but he really needed peer acceptance and kind, knowledgeable guidance in a setting outside home. I did the best I could, but I needed help. Mindset at Elderhaus has provided that extra boost to help him come more into his own. I did not fail him, but I wasn’t enough. I’m happy God provided a healthful, helpful place for John to come into community acceptance, belonging and greater self-confidence and respect. He’s happier, and I’m glad. Thanks!
Elizabeth Deavours

A Dad
I was born at Poudre Valley Hospital, and I am proud to be a part of such a wonderful community. When I was growing up, I never gave any thought to who would take care of a loved one if there were a mental or physical need as they aged. I have always been a Daddy's girl, so when my father was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, I took it personal and began to learn as much as I could about the disease. As I researched Dad's disease, I didn't find anything very positive, so I changed my approach and decided to figure out how, as a family, we could cope with the large curve ball that life had thrown us. I found myself pondering several questions: How could Dad be active and enjoy a group of peers? How could Dad experience the mental and physical changes about to take place while maintaining his dignity? Where were there resources and experienced caregivers that understood our concerns, our tears and our frustrations? I knew that in a community that cares so much about quality-of-life issues there must be something right here to fulfill all of our needs. My answer was Elderhaus. Dad has done so many neat things and gone on so many fabulous field trips. He loves music, games, physical activities, as well as learning about history, plants, astronomy, and the ocean, just to name a few of his favorite activities at Elderhaus. Elderhaus is not just a place for my father or the other participants to interact, is it an extension of our families. Just as each of us loves and cares for our family member with a disability: so do they. Elderhaus is an integral part of our every day life, and we are so grateful to have them; and blessed with the care that is given by each staff member.
Family Member