My Friend’s Haus:
by Crystal Gottfried
From the moment you walk in, you can tell My Friend’s Haus is a very special place. Here, clients as well as their families are treated like special guests.
Elbert Akers sits in the dining room with Administrative Assistant Raelynn Gunderson and staff LVN Kristi Hatfield, sharing a joke with them about his military days, and laughing about his appearance while getting his photo taken for this article.
My Friend’s Haus is a new concept for the Comal County area, known as Compassionate Adult Day Care.
“We are not a babysitting service for adults, we are providing a place where clients are safe, comfortable and can socialize and have some fun,” said Director Terry Jackson. “We are a full-service caring center for adults aged 18 and over who are frail, ailing or disabled, need supervision, meals or medications at specific times, or are receiving rehabilitation services and cannot stay at home alone. Other clients may have Alzheimer’s or live alone and need some specialized care.”
My Friend’s Haus creates a home-like atmosphere with their hugely spacious living room with comfortable sofas and chairs arranged in cozy settings to facilitate socializing among clients. Breakfast and lunch meals, as well as morning and afternoon snacks are specifically prepared for clients according to the recommendations of their staff dietician and served in the facility’s bright and cheering dining/television room.
“Some folks are getting better nutrition here than they get at home alone,” said Jackson. “We also arrange for specialized training for caregivers if they need it; and we are hiring a licensed social worker soon. We also collaborate with several agencies for the aging in Comal County as well as the state of Texas through Adult Protective Services.”
Medical support for clients and their families is provided for clients from a full-time licensed vocational nurse, Kristi Hatfield and a registered nurse, Jeanette Prell.
Clients come from many backgrounds and need to have supervised care for many reasons.
Mr. Akers lost his wife this past spring. He now stays with his son’s family. Today is his first day at the center, and he seems to be enjoying his conversations with the staff as they complete their profile of his needs, likes and dislikes.
“The folks who come to My Friend’s Haus have mental or physical disabilities that require that they are not left alone,” said Jackson. “Their primary caregivers need a safe, secure, supervised place for their loved ones to stay while they run errands, catch up on projects, return to work, or just take some time off from the stresses and pressures of their caregiving responsibilities.
“Our mission is to help the caregiver postpone having to place their ailing or aging parent, spouse or loved one in an institution.”
According to Jackson, My Friend’s Haus is the “brain-child” of Executive Director Robert Lopez, who recognized a need in the area for adult day care services.
“Robert bought the property at 790 Landa Street, and received initial funding from the Kronkosky Foundation and the United Way of Comal County for the building, and funding from the Meadows Foundations for renovations and staffing,” said Jackson. “We received our license to operate in October. Our Medicaid contract and contracts with several HMO’s will be effective in January and will provide services free of charge for some clients.”
My Friend’s Haus operates under the Comal County Senior Citizens Foundation and clients who are eligible also receive services provided by the Family Caregiver Support Program funded by the Alamo Area Council of Governments’ Alamo Area Agency on Aging.
The center is also supported by trained volunteers from the Comal County Senior Citizens Center just down Landa Street.
My Friend’s Haus had their official ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce and Open House last Thursday.
People in the community are invited to come to My Friend’s Haus for Visitor’s Day, at 10 a.m. any Wednesday morning.
Take the time to look at the facility, talk with staff, and discover for yourself how friendly and comfortable My Friend’s Haus would be for you or your loved one to spend the day. Clients may be referred by physicians, may attend everyday, or may visit on an occasional basis after pre-registration.
The facility also provides transportation to and from the center, to help clients meet their doctor appointments or physical rehabilitation and therapy sessions.
My Friend’s Haus is located at 790 Landa Street, New Braunfels. Their hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and they are open to anyone with disabilities who is 18 years of age or older.
For additional information about My Friend’s Haus, please phone 830-626-8611.
“My Friend’s Haus . . . where everyone is a friend.”
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