Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thank You Good Neighbor Society

Last year my mother's condition with Alzheimer's disease had worsened noticeably. As a family we had decided that she required more care she could receive on my parents farm. Before we could move her into an assisted living facility she wandered off during a trip to town with Dad one day.

Unable to get her back, Dad called the police to help find her. Confused and scared, Mom wouldn't go with the police when they found her. Since she wouldn't go voluntarily she was sent to a "senior behavioral health unit" in Cedar Falls for "observation" to make sure she wasn't a danger to herself or others.

She was increasingly confused about people, words and places but Mom could walk and talk and largely take care of herself with increasing help from Dad and others at that time. After four weeks in the "care" of the big city doctors she was discharged unable to speak, smile, feed herself, display any emotion or hug her grand kids. The nursing home that had evaluated and accepted her a few weeks before said that they didn't have the capability to care for her when she was released.

The family was overcome with shock and despair. Was there nowhere that Mom could go and receive the loving care that she deserved? That's when we discovered the Good Neighbor Home in Manchester.

The Good Neighbor Home (GNH) is a care facility run by the Good Neighbor Society, a non-profit collaboration of 11 local churches. GNH has 133 beds. Mom was able to move into their brand new 20 bed state of the art Memory Care Unit, known as “Marietta’s Place," and later their 12 bed hospice unit until her death last month.

But of course physical facilities are only a small part of the equation. The staff at GNH were professional and caring. Their motto is: "COMPASSIONATE CHRISTIAN CARE FOR THOSE WE SERVE." They definitely lived up to those words. They treated Mom and the family with tenderness and respect.

It's often said that "the Lord works in mysterious ways," but sometimes there is no mystery in it at all. He works openly in plain sight through the dedication and hard work of caring people like those at the Good Neighbor Home. I thank them for making my mom's last year and a half as pleasant and comfortable as possible.

By the way, as a non-profit entity donations are always sorely needed, greatly appreciated and tax-deductible. They can be sent to:

The Good Neighbor Society

105 McCarren Drive

Manchester, Iowa 52057

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