Group Homes: A Real Home Away From Home For The Disabled And The Elderly

Group Homes: A Real Home Away From Home For The Disabled And The Elderly

When I was a teenager, my “larger-than-life” grandfather after a major hospitalization was moved to a seniors care center not far from the hospital. In time, he was transferred to Walker Nursing Home in tiny Virginia, Illinois. Walker’s was literally at the end of the same block where he lived with my grandmother for well over forty years and also raised their three children.

At the time, the move to Walker’s was not without its controversy. On top of that, my grandfather constantly begged us all to let him go home. But what was unknown to my generation of the family was that my grandmother was dealing with some serious health issues of her own. There was no way that she would be able to take care of my grandfather if he went home. In fact, her health challenges were so serious that she only outlived her husband by nine months.

Compared to most institutions that care for the elderly or the disabled, Walker Nursing is better than most. In fact, it is constantly ranked as one of the best in the country for the level of care it provides and also the cleanliness of its facility. But as a consultant, I have been in a few institutions that catered to the elderly that made my skin crawl. In one case, I discounted my fees by 80% because this place really needed help and the director still turned down my offer. Ten years later, I was horrified when I learned that my mother had been moved to this dump. Shockingly, when I visited her, nothing had changed from when I had done my survey there years earlier. In fact, the owners were reminiscent of slum lords.

Previously, for many years my mother had suffered from mental illness. When she was hospitalized, regardless of the name of the facility where she was a patient, they all had the same characteristics in common. These were cold, sterile, lifeless places that smelled of medicines and industrial strength cleaning agents. While most of the staff treated their charges with patience and respect, unfortunately, some didn’t and others even took advantage of these poor souls. Because of my past experiences with the traditional institutions that catered to the elderly or the disabled, I would rather die or live on the street than end up in one of these places. Truth be told, some of my readers feel the same way.

But then businesses like DD Homes in Central Illinois came along. DD Homes provides a “small group home style” setting for the disabled citizenry. It was the first steps in the direction of an honest to goodness “home away from home” for residents that needed special care and protection. In my opinion, this was a step in the right direction.

After moving to Ensenada years ago, in time I met Mike Granados. Mike owns several group homes that cater to the aged and infirm. Because of a terrible experience he had in a nursing home that was caring for his mother, Mike brought her out of the U.S. and back to Ensenada where he started his first group home. It has now been one of his passions for the past 14 years. A number of the 24 residents are American citizens. This is because the level of care is far better than in the States at a fraction of the monthly cost. For those that can afford to pay, the fee is $2,000 per month for all services. Through Mike’s foundation, other residents are partially or totally subsidized, depending on their particular situation.

Before heading over to his group homes, Mike shared some intriguing and fascinating stories with me about the general benefits provided by Sam Meranto’s Meditation & Medical Hypnosis as well as the Bach Flowers remedies. I will be researching these and possibly adding them to an article that I will write soon on alternative therapies for addiction, depression and pain management in 2019.

Both of the locations that we toured were formerly homes that had been retrofitted to maximize the care and comfort of the residents that live there. The larger home had 15 while the smaller facility had 9. The staff at each operation varied from 5 to 7 depending on the particular needs in that home. Many are trained nurses and there are excellent doctors that are on call 24/7. Ensenada is also close enough that the Americans living in the facilities can be transported and even airlifted to the United States if the need arises.

Not only did I take a ton of pics, but also had some great conversations with a number of the residents, including an American veteran of the U.S. Army. To a person, they loved the facility, the caring staff, and, the delicious and nutritious food. But more importantly, they referred to the other residents as brothers and sisters. The truth is that for some, this was all the family that they had on this side of Heaven.

Earlier in the day, I had shared with Mike that I did special projects from time to time for Sabot Foundation. “The Sabot Foundation assists veterans, especially combat veterans to help them redefine their transition back into civilian life and improve their quality of life in a variety of areas related to alternative holistic programs to reduce the effects of PTSD/TBI/CTE, as well as guidance to education and training leading to rewarding careers.” (To learn more, please visit http://sabotgroup.com/sabot-foundation/.) But as we were leaving, I pointed out to Mike that the group home environment would be perfect for longtime veteran friends that wanted to retire and live together. From the veterans that I knew, it would be a nonstop party for them each day. After the hell that they had lived through especially in wartime, they deserved to hang out with their friends for the rest of their lives if that is what they wanted.

While he was driving me home, I turned to Mike and told him that I could easily get used to living in one of his homes. After smiling and nodding his head, he proudly told me that he had heard this a lot before, so he must be doing something right. In truth, I had to agree with him.

Until next time!

Anthony Cota

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