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Miller/Straub family observe Almost Home’s fifth anniversary
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Glenn Miller, 88, long-time Almost Home resident, enjoys some arts-and-crafts time with Hunter Duryee and Claire Engle, both from Precious Moments Daycare. Visits from young people brighten the days for Almost Home residents, Executive Director Leilani Schenkel said.

          A few years ago, Glenn Miller of Great Bend wouldn’t eat or even try to take care of himself. The situation had to change, and thanks to Almost Home Inc., it did, said Julie Straub, Miller’s daughter.

            Julie and her husband, Larry Straub, wanted to share their family’s story in observance of Almost Home’s fifth anniversary. The adult residential-living home, 1919 Van Buren, opened March 17, 2014.

            “We were really in a pretty tough spot,” Julie recalled. “We lost Mom several years earlier and Dad did pretty well for a while. Then he started going backwards. And when that happens, things escalate.

            “Our family and Dad’s doctors agreed that he couldn’t live on his own anymore,” she continued. “We had been told he might not live for another six months. But here we are, three years later. Dad loves it here and we feel the same way.”

            Larry acknowledged that his father-in-law “fought the move early on. But then he turned a corner. During a hospital stay, Miller asked ‘they are not going to give my room away at Almost Home, are they?’

            “Now he is Almost Home’s biggest salesman,” Larry added. “He just loves everyone here. They are very big into quality of life, and if something goes wrong, the staff picks up on it quickly.”

            In addition, he said, staff members help the family “deal with the stresses and strains. It is a wonderful setting.”

            Miller, 88, who co-owned and helped operate Miller Printing for more than five decades, has been a full-time Almost Home resident for three years. The best things about it, he said, are “this is my hometown and everyone takes good care of me. It’s kind of like a second family.

            “I am very happy with my treatment. If I wasn’t happy, I wouldn’t be here. The food is good too. Let’s put it this way; when I came here I weighed less,” he laughed, patting his tummy.

            Three home-cooked meals, which include made-to-order breakfasts, are just part of the daily services at Almost Home, said Executive Director Leilani Schenkel, RN. Others are adult daycare, respite and end-of-life care. The 24-hour staff includes registered nurses, certified nurse’s aides and certified medication aides.

            “All of us are gratified that we have far exceeded expectations during our first five years,” Schenkel said. “I didn’t think we would have full occupancy for a few years. But we have been full many times - even during the first year.

            “We appreciate all the great community support and generous donors to our non-profit residence.”

            Almost Home is licensed for a maximum of 10 residents. Two rooms are designated for end-of-life care. It also may accommodate an additional two people for several hours of adult daycare on any given day.

            Despite its success, Schenkel is aware of a couple of misconceptions about Almost Home.

            “Some families believe we are a lot more expensive than traditional long- and short-term-care options,” she noted. “I have heard that people are even reluctant to call because of this. But our prices are very competitive.

            “Anyone researching options should include Almost Home, which is a one-of-a-kind residence in our area. We have resources to help you compare and better understand what you are looking for.”

            Schenkel also said some think Almost Home is a ‘hospice house.’ “Yes, we can care for up to two people who are facing the end of life. But we also offer full-time, adult-care residency for up to eight other people.”

            Whatever the circumstances, Almost Home offers a lot of one-on-one care, she added. Activities include bingo, yoga, games and puzzles, baking, karaoke; arts and crafts; and visits from young people

            Those who attended Almost Home’s recent Great Bend Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting, which observed the anniversary, learned about services and the additions since the opening.

Additions include the Retreat House for families who need privacy. Others are the sunlit solarium, and new gardens and landscaping.

            Social media sites also have been buzzing with information and giveaway offers during the anniversary month.

            For more information, contact Schenkel by calling 620-617-1634.