(As seen in LiveWell magazine)
The news came as a surprise when Jeff DeLeeuw learned that his parents were packing up their belongings and moving from Illinois to Arizona in 1993. When Jeff visited his mom and dad in their Sun City West home, he could see they were clearly enjoying life after retirement.
When Jeff’s father passed away in 2007, he began to worry about his mom, Angele, who was living alone. Last year, Jeff and his mom heard about Sun Health at Home. The program seemed like a good fit to help alleviate some of the stress Jeff felt about not being nearby and allow Angele to have the freedom to age comfortably in place.
Independent living at every stage of life
Angele, now 84, was happy living in the home she had shared with her husband. She was surrounded by close friends and maintained an active lifestyle, and was intrigued when she heard about Sun Health at Home, a continuing care at home program. Angele and a friend attended a discovery seminar last fall.
“She called me, shared the information and wanted to know my thoughts,”Jeff says. “The program appeared to be thorough and comprehensive, including the costs and benefits, and the reputation of Sun Health made a very positive impression on me.”
After meeting with Josh Freegard, the program’s membership counselor, Angele joined Sun Health at Home in December.
“I was immediately at ease knowing my mom had access to a variety of services including a wellness coordinator who would look after her and be there if something happened,” Jeff explains.
A few months later, during a phone call with his mom, Jeff noticed a change in Angele’s demeanor.
“Her circle of friends had an unfortunate bad health streak and she could no longer enjoy their company and attend activities with them,” Jeff says. “She began to feel isolated and depressed.”
Angele decided to sell her Sun City West home and move into Grandview Terrace, a Sun Health Life Plan Community, in June. “One of the benefits of Sun Health at Home is the transferability of the membership fee,” says Barbara Mason, executive director. “Once Angele decided to move to one of the Sun Health communities, we were able to make a dollar-for-dollar transfer of her initial Sun Health at Home membership fee and apply those funds toward her entrance fee at Grandview Terrace.”
“We’re able to keep members like Angele healthy and independent in whatever independent home environment they choose,” she says. In addition to enjoying her new home at Grandview Terrace, Angele decided to keep a home-care only version of her Sun Health at Home plan, known as the “Classic Plan,” which continues to provide personal wellness coordination and health-care navigation as well as in-home caregiver and support services that may be needed in the future. Now she enjoys the best of both Sun Health plans and their benefits.
Angele has enjoyed getting to know the neighbors in her new community during the last few months, and feels confident she made the right decision.
“She truly loves it,” Jeff says. “I hear a more positive, upbeat tone in her voice now that she can just walk outside and immediately be around people, which I believe is a lot better for her overall health.”
Comprehensive range of services
Jeff and his wife Tracy, who live in northern California, feel confident knowing Angele is in good hands, especially when they are traveling.
“The Sun Health at Home program not only makes sure that my mom is healthy and safe, but assists with other important aspects of her life,” Jeff says. “They are able to help advocate and communicate for her in regards to her medical care and insurance bills.”
The team at Sun Health at Home is committed to involving family in the overall care of members.
“We were able to establish trust with Jeff and develop a good relationship,” Barbara says. “Not only do we serve as a voice for our members, by providing a high level of support and keeping their best interests in mind, but we feel like their family becomes part of the program, too.”
Today, Angele spends her days swimming, dancing and playing mahjong with friends.
“She is thriving,” Jeff says. “This gives me great peace of mind and helps both my mom and me sleep better at night.”