Home gets $8 million surprise

  1. home gets $8 million surprise


    by kate andrews / daily progress staff writer
    april 17, 2005





    orange - adelle goodwin has very few complaints with orange county nursing home.

    "i'm fortunate to live here," she said. "god has some reason for me being here."

    anything that could be improved? "to some extent, the food," the 11-year resident answered. "but considering the various diets and the amount, they do the best they can."

    the home, just within the orange town line, is highly regarded by residents and others. and it just received the ultimate thank you: an $8 million bequest from a former resident, evelyn m. hunt.

    hunt died in august 2003 at the age of 88, but the nursing home's board learned of her bequest only in february. the gift was announced this month.

    her bequest was more than a small surprise to the home, which didn't realize hunt was so wealthy.

    "you would never know it," said suzanne moubray, director of financial services. "she was a lady you would have thought was average."

    hunt was a private person, although she enjoyed others' company at the home, moubray said. privacy laws, as well as her stated wishes, preclude those who knew hunt from revealing much about her.

    but the gift - the largest ever given to the county-owned home - speaks for itself.

    part of the residence is dedicated to an assisted-living facility, for residents who can get around on their own but require help with medications or simply enjoy the company of others. hunt was in the assisted-living section of the home.

    "a lot of it's companionship," moubray said. "they don't want to live at home alone."

    but medicaid, on which 60 percent of the residents rely, falls far short of the $73-a-day expense of assisted living, moubray said, and homes owned by localities cannot accept federal auxiliary grants, which help residents of private nursing homes.

    when residents of the orange home run out of money, they must move to another home or go to the nursing-care branch if they qualify, moubray said. medicaid will pay for nursing-care expenses.

    hunt's gift, however, will change that. plans are to set up "scholarships" for needy residents so they can stay in assisted living.

    richard l. hawkins, although by no means an ordinary resident, enjoys the freedom of the assisted-living wing. at 97, he still drives and has a side business fixing clocks. he moved to the home soon after his wife, who had alzheimer's, came there.

    "i know i've had a good time since i've been here," he said, noting that he's played bingo and participated in local church services.

    "i think it was a wonderful thing she's done," he said of hunt's gift. "that's what she got - the best of care."

    the home has big changes on the horizon, including a new 60-bed assisted-living facility that is expected to be finished two years from now, and independent-living cottages and an outpatient therapy department in the future.

    hunt's gift likely will not pay for the new building, although it may be used to secure funding, moubray said. "we want to use it as a true endowment and not touch the principal." hawkins already has requested a room in the new assisted-living facility. "i guess the only way i'd leave is for them to run me out," he said, laughing.

    contact kate andrews at (434) 978-7261 or kandrews@dailyprogress.com.






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