Providence Seward Mountain Haven
Providence Seward Medical and Care Center
Green House Homes: 4
Square Feet per Home: 7000
On a cool, sunny, autumn morning, elders packed their belongings and boarded buses to make the three mile journey to their new homes, leaving behind the traditional trappings of a well-worn institution. By noon every elder had settled into their new warm and inviting spaces, readily enjoying the camaraderie and companionship of each other and the Shahbazim, who had assumed their new roles to protect, sustain and nurture each elder.
Miraculously and magically stories of change began to unfold as elders settled into a rhythm of daily life that was filled with meaning and purpose. The most heartwarming moments captured during those first few days are shared in the following stories.
As Frank began to explore his new home, he quickly noticed the beautiful patio affording breathtaking views of the Alaska Mountains. Wanting to take in the beauty of outside, but never before having the access and ability, he opened the door, unassisted and overjoyed with his new freedom. Drinking in the warmth of the sun, he sat out on the patio the entire afternoon while sipping a cup of tea.
Elizabeth went to bed 16 years ago to die after she was admitted to the legacy facility. For those 16 years she refused to get out of bed, ate all of her meals in bed, and rarely spoke to anyone. Today Elizabeth sits at the dining room table enjoying convivium, home-cooked meals in the company of friends, other elders and Shahbazim. Elizabeth is enjoying the unique fabric of everyday life in her home, watching those around her, and gracing them with a rare but magical smile and conversation.
Thomas stayed in his room and in his bed for the last couple of years. Many who worked with him had only heard him utter one or two words, those words coming only came after much coaxing. Today Thomas is up daily, sitting by the large windows, looking out onto the patio and the woods beyond, and engaging in entire conversations.
Jim has lived most of his life alone. When he came to the facility he was disheveled, with a long mid-chest length beard and long unkempt hair. Getting him to take a shower was a serious struggle most often lost. Jim previously spent most of his time in his room, coming out for an occasional meal. Today Jim, complete with hair cut and well-groomed beard, willingly takes a shower. Surging with self confidence, he recently grinned and said, “I hope we get to stay here.”
While living in the legacy facility, Sara refused to come out of her room, eating all of her meals alone. She was a liberal user of the call light for seemingly trivial things. Today, Sara has claimed one end of the dining room table where she greets everyone coming into the home. The current novel she’s reading, along with a newspaper, is close by on the table. Reveling in their new-found community and companionship, she and Helen often sit together in the hearth, chatting about daily life in their home.
Richard was at high risk for falls in the legacy facility. Using every alarm possible, staff had him connected to a chair alarm, bed alarm, and a motion detector alarm to alert them when he got up to walk. When he attempted to walk, he would lean so far forward that the motion would propel him into a hurried and stumbling gait. If he managed to stay upright, he would gain speed catapulting him into a run before he’d crash to the floor. Additionally, not fond of the alarm sounds that frequently went off, Richard had become a master at disabling them. In his new home Richard is alarm-free, and walks safely around the home without assistance. Short spaces, soothing sounds and smells of home have made Richard very appreciative of his freedom and regained abilities.
John spent most days isolated at the end of a long hallway in the legacy facility. Today he is up daily. During a recent care conference he tearfully said: “Thank you all for allowing me to live in such a wonderful place.”
Life in Seward Mountain Haven has afforded a place called home for elders; where rich relationships thrive and simple pleasures are enjoyed, creating a community where life is worth living