When it comes to housing, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. People may have different needs depending on their circumstances or season of their life.
For Phase 2 of our lifeinspired movement, we’re focusing on the topic of healthy housing. In the second of our three-part series of blogs on the connection between health and housing, we look at types of living arrangements that meet specific needs.
Inspired living can take on many meanings. These examples show there’s no single definition of what it means to live lifeinspired.
Some seniors may think that moving out of their family home marks a sad ending. However, finding the right fit can instead mean a new beginning. That’s the case for residents of The Heritage, a ThedaCare independent and assisted living community.
“It’s a big decision to move into a senior living community after living independently for decades,” says Danielle Kuss, Admissions Specialist for The Heritage. “The good news is that community living and independence for older adults go hand-in-hand — and the change can benefit everyone involved.”
The Heritage offers seniors the comfort and independence of home without the responsibilities. Residents say they find care, convenience, and connection at The Heritage, which sits on a serene wooded campus in Appleton.
The Heritage offers four apartment styles, which include one- and two-bedroom units. Residents can decorate and furnish their apartments with their personal belongs and furniture.
Amenities at The Heritage include onsite dining, a coffee shop, convenience store, library, beauty shop, and chapel. Residents can take part in activities including exercise classes, crafts, games, book clubs, discussion groups, and trips to shopping centers, restaurants, and community events. The Heritage grounds offer gardens and walking paths for exercise and quiet contemplation as well as a putting green.
Here’s what residents of The Heritage say about their experience:
“When my husband passed away, I realized that different things that I needed were going to have to be done at the condo. I just didn’t want to have to make all those decisions anymore. I wanted to be where I could be with people and feel like I was part of a family.”
“We really loved our house. We had lived there for about 35 years. It was hard to acknowledge and admit that we needed a different level of care, but we were glad when we left that we moved here.”
Husband and wife Peg and Dick
“I’m the most thankful for the evening dinner,” says Peg. “It eliminates the need for grocery shopping and preparing your own dinners. There’s four of us that sit together every night. Everybody is so friendly.”
“The Heritage had everything here that we were looking for,” Dick says. “This really feels like home, and I don’t foresee going anywhere else.”
Comfort and Convenience
For those who stay in their own home as they recover from surgery or manage an illness, ThedaCare at Home can provide care.
Services are available to individuals of all ages throughout the communities ThedaCare serves. Some people might have short-term skilled care or rehabilitation needs following a hospitalization or illness. Others may need temporary or ongoing assistance for chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hypertension, cancer, or diabetes.
Available services include home health care and therapy services, hospice, palliative care, and home medical equipment, also called durable medical equipment.
“Durable medical equipment is a big part of keeping people in their own home,” says Rebecca Philpot, a ThedaCare Nurse Practitioner who specializes in geriatric care. “It can be as simple as a wheeled walker, and it can be as complex as having oxygen and all of its supplies in your home. But it also includes wheelchairs, hospital beds, sometimes even lifts.”
Having the proper equipment and support at home can help keep people safe from falls and other risks while preserving their autonomy.
“A huge part of your quality of life is being able to remain independent. Nobody enjoys feeling dependent on others,” Philpot says. “Having ThedaCare at Home work with those individuals to maintain their independence is a huge part of maintaining one’s quality of life.”
Substance use disorder is a complex condition that often requires a multipronged treatment approach. People facing substance use disorder may require innovative transitional housing solutions as part of their recovery.
Specialized residential treatment programs can offer a safe, supportive environment for people struggling with substance use disorder. Some might think of this time in an individual’s life as a dark phase, but this type of supportive living can help people rediscover a place of hope and light.
ThedaCare partners with a couple of organizations to support residential treatment programs. One of those is Apricity. This nonprofit organization offers treatment, employment, and support services in a progressive, safe recovery community.
Through our Emergency Department to Recovery-Plus program, ThedaCare works with Apricity to provide the recovery coaches who assist patients.
As part of a recent “Health Inspired: Talk” episode, we talked with Corisa, a resident of Apricity’s Ohana women’s sober living residence.
Corisa says she turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with a difficult and traumatic childhood that included her father going to prison.
The past seven years, in particular, have been challenging for Corisa, 32. Over the years, she tried to get sober a couple of times, but she continued to struggle, eventually spending some time in jail.
A breaking point came for Corisa when her mom, who cares for Corisa’s 9-year-old son, asked her to make her own funeral arrangements and to write a letter detailing everything she ever wanted to tell her son.
“I just didn’t want to be here anymore,” Corisa said. “But I think when my mom asked me that, it was kind of the wake-up call.”
That led Corisa to enter Apricity’s Casa Clare residential substance use disorder treatment facility in January 2023. After completing two levels of care in that program, Corisa transitioned to Ohana in June.
“I love the sober living community here,” she says. “People want to make you feel welcome and make you feel like you belong.”
Corisa says with support and a community that cares, she’s found new hope. And to others experiencing similar struggles, she offers advice.
“Believe in yourself and just know that the sun always comes after the rain, but it’s up to you. You have to want that,” she says. “And I think that’s what’s different this time around, is that I want this, and I want it for myself.”