Providing More than an Apartment: One Resident’s Journey at Redwood

People rent at Redwood Neighborhoods for all sorts of reasons. Some are looking to downsize, some need a single-story home but don’t want to take care of a house, some just want a place that feels like home while still being a rental.

For one of our North Ridgeville, Ohio residents, the decision to move her mother to a Redwood Neighborhood became about providing a home where her mother could get the experience of home while still receiving the care she needed at the end of her life.

Read Kelly Walkden Gulick’s story of how Redwood helped her give her mother, Helen, the home she deserved for the rest of her life.

From Local Care Center to Redwood

My mother was dying for a loving touch. She was living in a local care center that during the pandemic had a policy of no in-person visitation. For 10 months residents were confined to their rooms.

At 86 years old, Mom was legally blind, unable to walk, and needed daily care, but her condition was stable. During the pandemic she had service touching to meet basic needs, but no one sat and held her hand or lovingly brushed her hair as we had previously on our daily visits. The phone was her lifeline, but staff often forgot to place it within her reach. For Mom, a retired teacher and a social butterfly, the isolation was like solitary confinement. 

One day in late December 2020 I called my cousin and kindred spirit, Georgia Awig. She is a registered nurse, a Kent State graduate with a BSN, and a good listener with experience as a patient advocate. I complained to her about not being able to provide Mom the care she deserved. That discussion started us down a path—taking Mom out of the care center and into a Redwood apartment—with me as primary caregiver and Georgia as local resource.

Why We Chose Redwood

I knew about Redwood Apartments in Newark because my son lives there and loves his place. The layout works well for him with the second bedroom turned into a home office and the large windows providing a spacious feeling.  

We needed a place with handicapped access that was easy for friends and family to find. Georgia toured Redwood Apartments North Ridgeville complex on Bagley Road. There was an apartment that met our requirements! The open floor plan and hardwood floors allowed me to easily move Mom’s wheelchair. The living room was large enough to accommodate the necessary medical equipment and a large chair for my brother to be comfortable during his daily visits. It had two bedrooms; one for me, and one for overnight guests or hospice aides. The Redwood staff was so welcoming that we immediately felt comfortable putting the rest of the steps into action. 

Our Experience at Redwood North Ridgeville Bagley Road

Moving a family member from an institution to home-based care is a big commitment, and not every family can make this transition. My husband and sons supported this venture. I quit my job as a teacher and put on hold my fledgling sewing business. Family and friends helped me move and set up furniture, and called often to offer help and support. Georgia was a regular visitor; Mom told us details of our family history and about our mothers’ lives as sisters growing up. My brother adjusted his schedule to visit every day and held Mom’s hand as they shared memories or napped. A local hospice organization managed Mom’s medicines and provided guidance for her care.  

Our Redwood neighbors were friendly and helpful. On nice-weather days I moved Mom in her wheelchair to the edge of the garage and folks driving by smiled and waved. Neighbors out for a stroll or on their way to the mailbox stopped to greet us and held their dogs up for Mom to pet. Everyone offered to help if I needed anything.  

Kelly's mother, Helen, enjoying her afternoon snack while watching the outdoors at Redwood North Ridgeville Bagley Road.
Kelly’s mother, Helen, enjoying her afternoon snack while watching the outdoors at Redwood North Ridgeville Bagley Road.

Mom relished living in Redwood Apartments; she loved when I moved her wheelchair into the kitchen so she could watch me prepare our next meal as we chatted about our adventures together. She liked having an audience for her stories and basked in receiving loving touches again. She said the arrangement was like a marvelous dream. We only had two months together, but Mom died knowing she was greatly loved.

Redwood is an equal housing provider. For more information about Redwood, its rental criteria, and how you can find a Redwood apartment home near you, head to byRedwood.com.

Read more stories about Redwood here.

1 Comment

  1. Linda Tuttle on May 28, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    What a lovely story

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