Overcoming Struggles with Determination

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“This place is made just right for us.” Raquel and Tyrone Murray, residents at Catholic Charities Senior Housing at St. Joachim House, love their ability to travel throughout the Jenkins campus with ease. Raquel said, “All the buildings are connected so we can go from one to another – all inside.” Getting around is important to this couple who are members of the Kitchen Band where residents perform with washboards and spoons and the like at events throughout the campus. The Murrays are sure to be at band practice every Tuesday with their kazoos and Raquel’s Soprano.

Raquel offers her voice to her husband as well, who suffered two strokes in 1984, leading her to become his caregiver on a daily basis ever since. In October of 2007, the couple moved into their spacious one-bedroom apartment at St. Joachim and they receive meals, housekeeping, laundry and personal assistance from Senior Support Services, Catholic Charities’ Congregate Housing Services Program. By December, they were also enrolled in the Hopkins ElderPlus PACE program, which provides comprehensive services to persons otherwise eligible for nursing home.

In addition to the effects of Tyrone’s stroke, Raquel has serious back problems, both are diabetics, and both were using scooters on a daily basis. until recently. Raquel recently began to use a walker instead of her scooter. She said, “I walk! The people at PACE said to me, ‘You need to use this walker.’ So I am! When my son saw me, his jaw dropped. I had been in a wheelchair for years.”

The couple could have easily ended up in a nursing home permanently. In 2006, there was an apartment fire at the building where they had lived for nine years. After being evacuated by firefighters, the couple found themselves at a shelter and was placed in a chronic hospital and nursing center. Raquel clearly recalled, “We were there one year and one month.” They found Catholic Charities Senior Housing at Aberdeen in the summer of 2007, but their planned in-home services did not work out, causing stress-related health issues for Raquel. They were referred to the Senior Support Services locations while the Service Coordinator worked to address their immediate needs. At that time, it was determined that they were eligible for a nursing home, but this couple was determined to find an alternative. Within three months they were moved into St. Joachim and as Raquel says, they have found a place that is “just right.”

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