From a storefront to a full facility, Blessed Assurance has come a long way
Blessed Assurance has something to celebrate, and that’s exactly what Nate Huggins and his wife Vivian are going to do. This February marks 20 years of serving the community as a day care center for those adults 18 and over who are unable or deemed unsafe to stay by themselves. The celebration will be held at Emerald Lake Golf Club on February 24 at 6:30 p.m. Nate is inviting the community, sponsors and supporters, participants and their families.
Blessed Assurance began with an idea to fill a need. “There seemed to be a missing link for those who were unable to stay at home alone but not ready for a nursing home. I felt a day care facility of this sort would be of value. I shared this vision with some churches and community leaders, and they embraced it.” As the need and popularity of Blessed Assurance grew, so did their facility. They now have a 98 person capacity, with about 75% currently being filled, and they serve five counties. They are open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. for the convenience of the caretakers. “One of our goals is to help the people who come here stay in their home situation as long as possible. When that is no longer possible, I counsel caretakers on what the next appropriate step may be.”
A typical day at Blessed Assurance looks like this: From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., participants are being dropped off and are given breakfast. There is a “full blown devotional program” that consists of prayer, gospel music, and scripture reading from 9 to 10 a.m. Nate pointed out that 7 or 8 denominations are represented among the guests, but “everyone gets along well.” From 10 to 10:30, armchair exercises are offered. “No matter what the condition, everybody can do something. Exercise has been found to help ward off strokes and TIA’s, and to promote longevity,” Nate noted. Right now, our oldest guest is 99. We had one guest here to the age of 104–and, at one point, two centurions at once! Can you imagine what we could learn from them?”
Exercise is followed by “recess” of sorts, where they sing, listen to music from local talent, dance, and work on arts and crafts with the help of volunteers. Nate explained, “Since our guests cannot go out into the community, we bring the community to them.” Now comes lunch, when Friendship Trays provides a balanced meal under the supervision of a certified dietician and with certain dietary restrictions in mind for some of the guests.
From 1-2 p.m. it is time for memory and mind challenging games, such a Jeopardy. Nate asked, “Did you know that mental stimulation can slow down Alzheimer’s and aid in memory retention?” At 2 p.m., some of the guests are beginning to be picked up, but those still at the facility can participate in activities such as bingo, corn hole, or can just go out into the backyard for some fresh air. The last activity of the day is current events, whatever that may mean to the individual guest, followed by time to relax, perhaps with a movie, and always the evening snack.
Kathleen Ward, a guest at Blessed Assurance said, “What I like best about Blessed Assurance is the people. They are all so friendly and nice. I have made new friends and it has enriched my life.” Another guest, Victor Mendoza added, “Nice people are here. I used to come three days a week, but now I come four. I hope that I will soon be able to come five days a week. I enjoy coming here–I have no complaints.”
Caregivers praise the peace of mind Blessed Assurance provides. Marie Nichols who brings her father-in-law said, “Its such a great facility–I wish there were more like it. When my father-in-law could no longer live alone, we did not want him to go to a nursing home. This way he can participate in society. The staff is very observant, the facility is so clean, and there is always a nurse on staff.” Sharon Conte, who brings her mother, said, “My husband and I both work full time, so its important to have a place that is safe and where we know Mom will be well taken care of. She loves it there.”
The celebration will be a coat and tie affair, and will host a cocktail reception, followed by dinner. There will be a silent auction for attendees to bid on. Nate said, “This is not about my wife and me–it is to thank the community and to celebrate what God has done.”
For anyone wishing to attend the celebration, go to Blessedadultcare.org or call 704-576-4754.