Debbie moved to Chicago seven years ago to be nearer to her son, Cliff.
Before moving to Chicago she had been living with her sister in San Diego, where she moved from Virginia Beach to help take care of her mother.
Then suddenly, she suffered from an unexplained brain injury that left her with mobility and speech impairments. As she was recovering, Cliff wanted her to be close by so that he could help her as much as he was able.
“I really like it here in Chicago! There are so many things to see and people are so nice,” Debbie said.
Debbie moved into the Good Life Senior Residences at Nathalie Salmon House just six weeks ago.
A friend of Cliff’s told him about the Intergenerational Housing program when they were looking for a new place where Debbie could get the assistance she needed while still maintaining her independence.
“There’s a family atmosphere that I really like. I was living at a bigger place before, but it was just too big for me,” Debbie said of her new home.
Cliff lives in the neighborhood and visits frequently. When she moved in, Cliff and his wife helped make her room homey with photos from her home in Virginia Beach and shelving to hold her goodies. Now he comes by regularly to help her manage her medications and talk.
“He’s such a good son,” Debbie says as her face lights up. “He says I raised him well, and now he’s paying me back.”
Debbie’s found an extended family and support system at Nathalie Salmon House, too:
“They’re all my brothers and sisters. We're all from different backgrounds but everyone has something in common in that we all need to be here. It’s good to have people who understand what you have gone through but who don't want to talk about it all the time.”
The motto of the Good Life Senior Residences is privacy when you want it, assistance when you need it, and Debbie says that it is so appropriate.
That’s just what she was looking for.
One of her favorite things about Good Life Senior Residences is that she can get as involved as she wants to but doesn’t feel pressure to do things all the time.
On days when her legs hurt or she wants to spend some time alone, she likes to watch TV in her room.
On other days, she takes advantage of going on nature walks and shopping trips—both things she likes to do in her spare time.
She’s also working to start an improv group with other residents. She loves that in improv you don't have to study a script and can be free to do or say anything.
“It’s hilarious the things you can think of on top of your head. People can let go, get the tensions of the day out. Be a member of the group.”
And she’s really become a member of the group in her new home.
“Everyone is really nice. It’s clear from how they talk to one another that they think of the group as family. Everyone is free to be themselves! Everyone doesn't smile all the time.”
Debbie says her goal as she starts her new journey at Nathalie Salmon House is to simply be happy.
“I've done a lot of things, had a lot of rough times. Since I had the brain injury, I realized that all the family and experiences, good and bad, have helped me to get along now. And this is a great place to do that.”
Debbie wouldn’t have independence that she does without donors like you.
How you can help
We rely on donations from individuals like you to help seniors maintain their independence by having the housing and housing support services they need.
This year H.O.M.E. has joined #ILGive to celebrate Giving Tuesday.
Will you mark your calendar for November 28, 2017 to help us reach our goal of raising $20,000 to make a big impact for seniors in 2018?
As a bonus, Bruce Otto, our Executive Director, has agreed to shave his the beard he has worn for most of his life. Watch the video here.
Or, donate today.
This post is part of our series to celebrate Giving Tuesday, which will take place this year on November 28, 2017. The idea behind #GivingTuesday is to kickoff the holiday-giving season, in the same way that Black Friday and Cyber Monday kickoff the holiday-shopping season.
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