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Wouldn't you agree that maintaining their independence and being a part of a community is essential for seniors to enjoy health and well-being?

Amber Martin
Published: September 24, 2012

I would like to share a touching story about one of the grandparents living at Nathalie Salmon House (NSH).

In the spring of 2010, after her retirement from a 30-year career as a hospital medical secretary, Alberta’s then 14-year-old grandson, Jahquan, asked if he could live with her permanently due to the dysfunctional relationship he had with his mother. In an unusual turn of events, the two were able to move into an apartment at NSH just one month after beginning the application process. Alberta says, “It’s a beautiful apartment and enables me to pay what I am able to pay and not have to struggle. Moving into NSH was great for me and helped me to do what I needed to do to take care of my grandson. The building is filled with love from the staff.”

Eloise, Jahquan, and Alberta

This past spring Alberta learned about the declining health of her mother, Eloise, who was living in Mississippi. Since all of Eloise’s children live in the Chicago area, it seemed natural to move her closer. Alberta told her mother about a vacant apartment at NSH, and she moved in shortly afterward. Alberta said her mother “was sick and lonely before she came to NSH, and she has not been sick since she moved here. She feels safe here. ”Alberta and Eloise especially enjoy the social interaction they have experienced since moving to NSH. Alberta says, “We were able to go to the dinner at the Signature Room in the John Hancock building and to H.O.M.E.’s anniversary event in April. My mother and I enjoyed both events because they brought people together and circulated love.” Alberta says of her life with her grandson and mother, “It was meant for me to be here at NSH at this time in my life.” All of us at H.O.M.E. are so pleased to have three generations of this family living at NSH.

In addition to NSH, H.O.M.E. owns and manages two other buildings dedicated to intergenerational living, which provides housing for low-income seniors, students and families. Building community across the generations is especially important to our seniors because many of them are not as fortunate as Alberta and Eloise to have family members who live nearby. The sense of community and connectedness seniors experience by living independently in one of our three affordable buildings helps relieve feelings of loneliness and isolation.

But, we provide so much more than rental apartments to our seniors. We assist residents with completing BenefitsCheckUp assessments, which is a process that helps seniors receive help in identifying and enrolling in federal, state, local, and private programs that help in paying for prescription drugs, utility bills, meals, health care, and other needs. We take our seniors to doctor appointments and on community outings including movies, lunches and trips to the mall or community department store. For some of our senior residents, the only family or caring individuals they have are our residential managers and coordinators and their neighbors whom we refer to as the H.O.M.E. family.

Unfortunately, our Intergenerational Housing Program does not generate enough revenue from rents and subsidies to cover annual operating costs. Alberta, Eloise, and the other residents living independently at NSH pay 30 percent of their monthly income for rent. To make up the difference, H.O.M.E. must raise $60 per month for each of the 54 apartments at NSH. To do that, we rely on the support of donors like you. Alberta says, “NSH is an affordable, peaceful, and safe place. Your donations enable three generations of my family to live together.” Look what your gifts to H.O.M.E. have made possible!

We are $26,000 away from our goal! Please make a donation now by clicking this Donate link to make a safe and secure gift using a credit card. I encourage you to remember the story of Alberta, Eloise, and Jahquan as you reflect upon some of the fond memories you may have shared with your own grandparents.

Thank you for considering this request. Your generosity is essential to the work we are doing. Share our seniors’ stories and the work we do with friends, family, and the people you meet in your communities. Let’s all work together to increase awareness of H.O.M.E. so that we can serve even more seniors like Alberta and Eloise.

If you have questions or want to receive additional information, please contact me at (773) 295-2711 or BruceO@HOMEseniors.org.

Sincerely,

Bruce A. Otto, D.Min., Executive Director

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