Article written by Richelle Putnam
Photos by Brittney Dowell
Hope Caldwell was working as a registered nurse and homeschooling her daughter when her 72-year-old mother’s stroke left her unable to drive. Hope searched for a place in her community that offered activities and good company during her mother’s recovery. She wanted her to stay mentally, emotionally, and physically active, but they “…couldn’t find the fit for her at the time,” Hope said.
For two years, Hope tried to do it all with no resources, only to end up experiencing extreme fatigue and feeling “hopeless.” She decided to turn in her Superwoman badge and start Hopeful House, an elder day care center equipped with a kitchen, a dining area, an exercise room, a computer station, an entertainment area, a nurse’s office, a screened-in porch, and a back deck in a quiet spot.
Often, when taking care of elderly parents, we feel that we can and should do it all without any kind of help. “We place ourselves at risk of not being able to help anyone,” Hope said, who is able to talk about caregiving all the way around.
The goal of Hopeful House is to help the elderly maintain integrity and purpose and to provide them a home away from home, while giving caregivers peace of mind and some time to take care of personal needs.
“When anything happens in your life, people with similar situations come to you,” Hope said. “So, – individuals falling within my age bracket, around 50 – are going to work every day while caring for parents. They needed a special place of safety for their parents while also needing guilt-free private, personal space of their own.”
After Hope’s mother had her stroke, Hope didn’t want her to just sit down, “Because [as a nurse] I’ve been in situations where, when they retire, they go home and don’t have any outside interests and so the decline happens rapidly,” Hope said. She kept her mother moving and active and she realized other families with elders needed that as well. “I noticed that many elderlies were at home, losing touch with the community. They were becoming hopeless.”
And that’s where the name of the business came from, changing hopeless into hopeful. “When I graduated from nursing school 27 years ago, I thought I would have a small care home,” Hope said. Hopeful House caters to those with minimal limitations. Of course, Hope is a nurse, so minimal limitations may be different than what you think. “All that means is that we don’t do total care and that people are basically able to feed themselves and toilet themselves with some assistance,” she said.
Research and clinical studies reveal how mental and emotional health affect physical health. Hopeful House has an exercise room to encourage movement in maintaining what you have and improving where you are. “My mother had a stroke the day after a knee replacement, so when that happened, we had to go through the stroke rehab,” Hope said. Since lack of movement and stimulation affect us physically and mentally, explained Hope, “We try to do stimulation for all of it, including spiritual.”
Hopeful House, being a private center, facilitates devotion time to address the spiritual, as well as the mental, emotional, and physical all in one place. The day is usually divided into segments of 7 a.m. – 12 noon and 12:30 – 5:30 p.m. Each five-hour slot is $45.00 and a full ten-hour day is $80.
They also offer hourly rates and try to accommodate rates for everyone.
Hopeful House is not a nursing home or assisted living, but a place where seniors enjoy companionship and do fun activities incorporated with food and fellowship.
Many, like Hope, want to provide a home for their elderly parents. But elderly parents also need a space where they can be active, and communicate with people closer to their age who experience the same lifestyle.
“A lot of family members feel that having helpers means we aren’t doing it ourselves,” Hope said. “All of us, at a time in our life, are going to need help. Needing help is not a weakness.”
(For a full list of activities at Hopeful House, visit website)
Contact Hope to speak to your group about caregiving and the services of Hopeful House.