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"She can stay ... forever?" Fund allows resident to remain in her WesleyLife community accent

January 23, 2024 | By

The WesleyLife Promise supports WesleyLife's non-profit status as well as the organization's adherence to John Wesley's admonition to "do all the good you can." Bolstered by Good Samaritan/Good Shepherd funds at each of our Communities for Healthy Living, the promise helps ensure that residents whose resources are depleted through no fault of their own will not have to leave their homes with WesleyLife.

A community Good Samaritan fund has supported residents such as Shirley, described in this story; she lives at Edgewater, a WesleyLife Community for Healthy Living in West Des Moines, and was— like all residents — financially qualified to move to campus. But after she had been at Edgewater for a few years, her son, Miguel, realized her accounts were dwindling.

“My brothers and I knew as soon as Mom began to need care that deciding where she would live was important, because if her condition got worse, we didn't want her to have to move from place to place," Miguel says. "She has Alzheimer’s disease, so it was essential that she was around caring people who would provide the support she would require as her disease advanced.

"We knew right away when we toured Edgewater and talked to the people there that she would feel safe, respected, and loved there. And we felt confident at the time that Mom's financial assets would last at least several years."

"We thought we'd have to move her in with one of us"

After two years, though, Shirley's health began a sharp decline. In addition to living with Alzheimer's, her diabetes, diagnosed years before, began to cause a host of other  physical issues. 

Several times during a one-year period, Shirley required 24/7 care, necessitating that she temporarily locate from her suite in the area that serves residents with memory loss to the community's health center. 

"She was in and out 24/7 care every few weeks; we were so grateful that she was able to stay under the same roof, but healthcare costs more no matter where you are, and she was spending money faster," Miguel says.

"At one point, my brothers and I thought we'd have to move her in with one of us. We could have made that happen, but even on her best days, Mom required a lot of attention to stay safe. Our houses weren't set up for her, so we tried to decide which one of us would need to remodel to get ready for her.

"But then, we got a lifeline."

"She can stay ... forever?"

That lifeline came in the form of the daughter of another resident; one of Miguel's brothers had gotten to know her, and she told him that a special fund at Edgewater helped residents who were unable to pay their monthly service fees.

Miguel spoke with the community's executive director, completed required paperwork, and learned a few days later that Shirley would be assisted by the Good Samaritan fund. 

"My wife had been so worried; she started crying and asked, 'She can stay ... forever?' She was just incredulous. No one could believe that there was a place so wonderful that they would promise that."

Miguel reports that today, his mother's health is holding steady; on good days, she seems to enjoy interacting with her caregivers and fellow residents, and Miguel and her brothers are sure that Shirley considers Edgewater her home.

"We've donated to the Good Samaritan fund every year so we can pay it forward," Miguel says. "We'll never stop feeling grateful that our mother lives in such an incredible place."

You can help residents like Shirley! Visit this page to learn more about or support the WesleyLife Promise by donating to a Good Samaritan or Good Shepherd fund at a WesleyLife community. 

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