EDMOND — A four-bedroom brick house nestled among tall trees and colorful blooming flowers in pots and in the ground looks like all the other nearby homes in the comfortable neighborhood.
Inside, there is lots of sunshine beaming down on the antique and vintage furniture. The scent of lavender fills the air.
A pillow resting on the seat of a slate-blue rocking chair on the front porch is inscribed with a single word: “Home.”
Three elderly people, who need help with daily activities, call this place home.
Eden Care Homes are an alternative to the traditional institutional assisted-living facilities.
“Eden Care Homes are just that — homes,” said owner Shannon McClure, who is a registered nurse. “They are located in quiet residential neighborhoods and on private acreages and appear no different from any other house on the block.”
Eden Care Cottage is a mile north of Edmond on Santa Fe Avenue. A second home, Eden House at the Greens, is in Oklahoma City. Each house can be a home for up to five residents and is licensed by the state.
“We offer a traditional family atmosphere that encourages interaction and opportunities to develop close, trusting relationships,” McClure said.
Caregiver Barbara Benson was softly rubbing lavender and almond oil on the small, feeble hand of 97-year-old Lorene Baird, who has lived at Eden Care Cottage since February.
Although Baird, who has Alzheimer's, never spoke, everyone in the room could tell she was content and enjoyed Benson's tender touch.
“For five lucky people, this is a little bit of heaven,” Benson said as she kept an eye on Baird, who was sitting in a chair, facing a picture window with a hummingbird feeder attached to the glass. “Just look. You walk in the door and you feel better. It's a home, not just a residence.”
Sandy Gore, Baird's daughter, also was smiling as she watched Benson help calm her mother and lessen her anxieties.
Gore tried to take care of her aging mother at her home. It was a 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week job that turned out to be too much to handle for Gore, even with home health care assistance.
Baird moved into a single room decorated with pictures and knickknacks familiar to her.
“I can sleep at night,” Gore said. “I don't worry about her care. It is peaceful here and peaceful at my house.”
A large blood clot was discovered in Baird's leg after she arrived at the cottage.
“I believe if she hadn't come here, she wouldn't be alive,” Gore said.
Baird made two laps around the 240-foot trail one of her first times in the backyard where deer and a red fox have been seen.
“I am not sad to leave her,” Gore said. “I am very grateful. It's a happy place.”
Together to the end
Nan Collins and Bob, her husband of 20 years, were the first two residents at the cottage after it opened in November 2012.
They had been separated after Bob Collins, with Alzheimer's, went to a memory care unit to live.
When June Collins, Bob's daughter, learned about Eden Care Homes, she didn't hesitate because she knew that was what her father would want.
“I was so excited,” June Collins said. “I think it is incredible.”