Stories

RUTH HATCH LOVES ART—CREATING PICTURES AND APPRECIATING THEM.
To express gratitude, she gifts her canvases; one surgical team at St. John’s was the beneficiary of a small bear sketch. Her room at the Living Center greets guests with art; her paintings and portraits of herself—ever exuding elegance.

“I can’t do faces,” she says with a smile. “So I do side views.” Her artistic twinkle thrives. And she recognizes the creative spirit in others, delighting in Hillary’s weekly visits with
her musical menagerie. She joins art activities, therapy programs and town excursions whenever she can, and she relishes the freedom to participate at will. And eat whatever she wants (within her dietary needs). “I eat grapes by the cupful,” she says.

Now 90-years- old, Ruth worked well into her 70s. When diagnosed with Parkinson’s, she moved into a nursing home close to her son in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her daughter Linda longed
to move her from Ohio to Jackson, but Ruth insisted: “I’m not a mountain girl.” The distance made Linda’s heart hurt every time she walked away from the nursing home in which Ruth resided. The home lacked a nurturing ambiance, but she didn’t want to uproot her mom unwillingly. However, when Ruth’s wrist started to swell and hurt, the cracks appeared in the facility’s care system. One day, four years ago, Ruth announced: I’m ready
to move to Wyoming.

Linda immediately called St. John’s Living Center and placed her mom on the waitlist. Within a month, she received word a private room was available. Linda rushed back to Ohio, packed up Ruth, and flew west (a moving van with all of her mom’s belongings soon followed).

In terms of trappings, Ruth’s room at the Living Center appears the same as her space in
Ohio (down to the floral wallpaper trim picked by parallel decorators decades ago). And
yet, it’s the ethos that’s entirely different. “The Living Center feels most like home to us as
a loving community and neighborhood,” Linda says. “Just as neighbors stop in to say hello,
ask if you need anything when they are going to the store, or ask you out to dinner, the
Living Center keeps that spirit of the old neighborhood intact… All the activities and attention to individual needs my mother receives are reminders that she is loved and the staff values her.”

Everyone—from the nurses and CNAs to the dietary and housekeeping crews—makes Ruth feel surrounded by “neighbors,” kindred spirits who know her wishes and do their best to fulfill them, Linda says. Residents care for each other as well, ever supportive and loving.

Though the house Ruth raised her family in has been sold, Linda considers her mom’s current surroundings a blessing. “No more worry about her safety or health,” she says. “My mom has found a new home at St John’s Living Center.”

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