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Retirement centers provide home where senior adults ‘retain independence, purpose for life’comment (0)

October 24, 2013

By Grace Thornton

Retirement centers provide home where senior adults ‘retain independence, purpose for life’

Ava Kee didn’t have many options. In fact, she really only had one.

She slept in her car.

Kee was in an abusive marriage and moved to a Christian women’s shelter. But after a while, the shelter changed to a drug rehab center.

She wasn’t on drugs, so she had to move out. Her car became her home.

Then someone told her about Knollwood Retirement Center in Roanoke.

“If it weren’t for the love and compassion shown to me at Knollwood, I don’t know where I’d be today,” Kee said. “I felt worthless and believed God had abandoned me. But God heard my prayers and brought me to Knollwood, where I’m surrounded with loving kindness.”

She’s there by the grace of God, she said.

“And He didn’t just give me a place to live — He gave me a home,” Kee said. “I know that the gifts of many people help make my home possible.”

‘Safe and affordable’

Knollwood is one of four centers in three locations run by Alabama Baptist Retirement Centers (ABRC) that offer housing to residents 62 and up with rent based on their ability to pay.

“We provide a safe and affordable home in a loving Christian environment for many who need a place to live out their latter years without the stress and hardship of keeping up their home,” said Charlotte Crane, ABRC director of financial services, noting that about half of ABRC’s annual budget is funded through the Cooperative Program.

In addition to Knollwood, ABRC also offers senior adult housing at Eastview Retirement Center in Montgomery and Baptist Village Townhouses and Hutto Tower in Dothan.

ABRC also recently acquired property in Fairhope and plans to build more townhouses there, Crane said.

On campus, the centers exist “to assist senior adults in retaining their independence, security, health, dignity and purpose for life under God,” she said.

Off campus, ABRC ministers to the elderly in other ways. They educate churches and associations on the needs of the elderly around them and help churches establish and build up ministries to retirement homes in their area.

And missions teams often visit the four centers to do Vacation Bible School (VBS) for the residents, as well as hold other programs. In June, for instance, a youth group from Columbia Baptist Association visited Hutto Tower to do a VBS with Bible study, singing and crafts.

“They also performed light duties that the residents may have needed to have done, such as hand out the lunches and take out their trash,” said Marie Cook, manager of Hutto Tower. “We also had our Resident Appreciation Day, in which they (the youth) were very instrumental in it being a great success.”

Hutto Tower is where Joyce Bigham lives.

Bigham’s former home was a leaky trailer.

“On her limited income, she didn’t have the money to make needed repairs and was literally getting rained on in her home,” Crane said.

Someone referred Bigham to Hutto Tower, and she was amazed that she could live somewhere with all her utilities furnished at a price based on her income.

“With tears in her eyes, she said she praises the Lord daily for Hutto Tower and the kind and loving people who work there,” Crane said.

And Bigham’s story, Crane said, is just one of many.

“Thank you, Alabama Baptists, for your generous gifts through the Cooperative Program. Without you, none of this would be possible,” she said. “We are eternally grateful.”

For more information, visit www.albrc.org.

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