Offering Helps Seniors Stay in Retirement Homes

January 31, 2011

The annual Have a Heart for Seniors offering supports the benevolent care ministries of our Kentucky United Methodist retirement communities: Lewis Memorial in Franklin, Wesley Manor in Louisville, and Wesley Village in Wilmore. The date for this year’s offering is February 27. Here Anita H. Kuvin, Vice President, Development & Communication at Wesley Manor Retirement Community, and Tim Layton, Vice President for Development at Wesley Village, share stories that illustrate the need for charitable senior care.

When Planning Isn’t Enough

Contrary to stereotypes, most Wesley Manor residents who require financial aid to remain in their “homes” at Wesley Manor are not seniors who failed to plan for their retirement. Nearly all have lived with us and paid privately for years before depleting their savings and applying for charitable assistance. Here are true stories of typical recipients. For privacy, we have changed their names: 

Except when he served at Guadalcanal during WWII, Ed has lived his whole life within 4-5 miles of Wesley Manor. He and his wife, Lou, moved here 8 years ago. Since Lou’s death, Ed has lived alone in our Assisted Living Center. They had no children. After spending more than $200,000 for nursing and assisted living services, Ed has exhausted his assets and now needs charitable care in order to remain in his “home” here at Wesley Manor. 

Or consider 6-year assisted living residents Tom and Beth who lived simply and made provisions to assure permanent care for their handicapped son, now living in a Louisville special needs home. Then they lost all of their life’s savings and Tom’s retirement when his life-long employer went bankrupt.  Three years ago, Tom and Beth found it necessary to apply for charitable care aid.  A man of deep faith, Tom graciously and humbly says that he personally experiences God’s faithfulness in caring for them each day through the gifts of total strangers (like you)! 

Then there are Charlie and Mary and Paul and Louise. Each of these couples worked hard in mid-level jobs, lived modestly, and retired with over a half million dollars in assets when they moved to Wesley Manor. During their stays of eight and ten years respectively, each of them moved from assisted living to memory care and finally to nursing care. Each couple depleted all of their savings and – after spending almost a million private pay dollars for care and services at Wesley Manor over the years – finally found it necessary to access charitable care in order to stay in their “homes” here with us. How could we ask them to leave Wesley Manor after living with us for so long and spending their life’s savings with us?

People are living longer, healthier lives while the costs of providing housing, health care, and necessities continue to increase.  In our 48-year history, Wesley Manor has never asked a resident to leave his/her “home” here because they could no longer pay for the full cost of their care.  More than ever before, we need the help of our churches and individuals if we are to continue providing all of the charitable care needed by each of the residents who has come to call Wesley Manor “home.” 

Anita H. Kuvin

The Story of Ruth

I first met Ruth when she was 92 years old. She attended faithfully our 2:30 p.m. worship service at Wesley Village. One day she remained after the service. I noticed a look of concern on her face.  I sat down beside her and said, “Ruth would you like to talk?” She looked straight at me and said, “I have to die this year.” Stunned, I responded, “What?” She answered very matter of factly, “Oh, I have to die this year.”  “What are you talking about?” I quizzed.

She explained, “My long-term insurance runs out this year, and I won’t have enough money to stay here and I don’t want to live anywhere else, so I have to die this year.” I said, “Ruth do you think we are going to put you out on the street?” pointing to the highway running past the Village. “I promise you that this is not going to happen.  I don’t want you to ever think about this. We are going to take care of you. Promise me you won’t worry about it anymore.” She looked at me for a long moment and then she said, “All right, I promise.”

Ruth continued to attend the Sunday afternoon services. Every week she was there, singing the hymns by memory, because she was legally blind, and lifting her hands in praise in spite of her arthritis. A year went by then another.

I remember the last time I saw her, right there on that front row where she wouldn’t miss a word, because she was now almost deaf.  The service was over and Ruth went back to her room. That night she died in her sleep, peacefully at the age of 94. There are others like Ruth at Wesley Village. We are just as committed to them. Folks who have lived wonderful Christian lives of service, some with influence that reaches around the world. We believe they have earned the right to live out their days in peace and security.

Your gift to the “Have A Heart For Seniors Love Offering” makes it possible for us to give this assurance to others. Thank you so much for your generosity.

Tim Layton