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Lewiston hospitality (02/01/2004)
By Janet Lewis Burns

Having a place to go is Home.

Having someone to love is family.

Having both is a Blessing.

That is the message on the wall hanging Pat and I gave Uncle Hilbert and Aunt Alma Wollin when they moved into Rick and Michele Speltz's assisted living house, on our street in Lewiston, a year ago.

Scurrying along the snow-clad sidewalk, one December Saturday, I took a deep breath of frigid, icicle-stiff air, and stepped into a full house. Familiar faces, pale and lined by years dropping away, had become warmly alive, flushed smooth with enjoyment. A small child beams with wonder at the festivities.

A lively, white-haired, Santa-like fella sat at an upright piano, belting out holiday tunes. Convivial chatter and folks sipping warm cider gave the Christmas-scented home a cheery aura.

Sadly, Shelly helped to nurse her mother in this very house, where she and her two sisters were raised, as my cousin Joanne lost her battle with breast cancer in 1986. That, along with a position in a "senior care" house during her college years, prompted Michele to establish such a place of her own.

It must be trickle-down residency; Rick and Michele Speltz now reside at the Wollin homestead, out on the Bethany farm, with their five children.

Love can build a bridge. With a cozy environment, Speltz Homes, in town since 1990, and out on their farm since 1994, are truly havens for all ages and every season of life. It's those special moments of personal exchanges, and the attentive and caring staff that make life here worthwhile.

I'm often greeted by Jerry, as I bound into 70 Second Street for a visit - always a nod, a wave, and a smile. One afternoon the Speltz' three boys were sitting at resident Betty's feet as they watched "Dr. Phil" together. Amelia, six, comes bounding back to greet us after school, before heading home to the farm, as I visit with Aunt Alma and Uncle Hilbert in their roomy apartment.

Bill is usually in his chair, and bids me farewell, as I hand him the Post on my way out. Betty calls from the dining room, "Goodbye, Janet!" The frosting on the cake is Netty, two. She reaches up to me for a hug and kiss.

To date, sixty individuals have resided at Speltz Homes Plus. Fortunately for the Lewiston area, the Speltz's are in the process of building a ten-unit assisted living and apartment facility in southwest Lewiston.

To be the best that you can be, as you turn the corner to declining age and/or disability, GENERATIONS SHARING HOME & INDEPENDENCE promises to lighten tomorrows' burdens. Lewiston strives to be attentive to this growing need.

Roomier than it appears from outside, I entered a bright, homespun living area. Home and Community Option's foster care home for adults with disabilities is located at 405 Main Street in Lewiston. Primary counselor Steve Laehn spoke to me of incentives of the three full-time and ten part-time, rotating staff.

"We get lots of fulfillment from seeing our residents take part in activities which give them the opportunity to become fully participating members of the community," Laehn stated. Since opening in 1993, resident ages have ranged from 24 to 79. At this time, three work at paid jobs.

Unit Coordinator Suzie Horstman helped me to get in touch with the mother of one of the original residents. Betty Richter spoke highly of her 39 year old son Bill's home and the staff, feeling completely comfortable with him there.

It seems interesting, as Betty pointed out, that four completely different personalities and ages get along so well. "I like the fact that they all gather around to eat the evening meal together," she remarks. Bill works at ORC in Winona.

"It's amazing the things they do with the residents to keep them active and enjoying life," Betty remarked. "Since most of the staff have been female, Bill relates well to Steve. They are all angels," Betty concludes, a smile in her voice.

Home and Community Options was incorporated in 1975, with facilities in Winona. Just as Speltz Homes Plus, HCO at 405 Main is a home filled with challenges, kindness, care, nurturing, and an atmosphere for any age...

As no one can know what the future holds for us and our loved ones. 


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