×

Bradford Oasis Is a Place Called Home

  • Bradford Oasis Home and Respite staff support member Cassandra Gilmore hugs resident Beverly Wright on Sept. 27, 2017 in Bradford. Resident Bea Putnam does her exercises by the wall. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Bradford Oasis Home and Respite owner/manager Brenda Egbert RN, trims Clarence "Jerry" Jerome's toe nails on Sept. 27, 2017 in Bradford Vt. Susan Hanna Rose, RN, assistant manager and kitchen manager, left, plans the menu for the coming weeks with Cassandra Gilmore a staff support member at the home. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Cassandra Gilmore, a support staff member at Bradford Oasis Home and Respite walks outside with resident Tina Libbey and Mia on Sept. 27, 2017 in Bradford, Vt. Mia comes to work with Brenda Egbert the owner and manager of the home. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Clarence "Jerry" Jerome, a WWII veteran reads after lunch at the Bradford Oasis Home and Respite in Bradford, Vt., on Sept. 27, 2017. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Owner and manager of the Bradford Oasis Home and Respite, Brenda Egbert, RN chats with residents Bea Putnam, and Oscar Tucker in Bradford, Vt., on Sept. 27, 2017 before lunch. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Beverly Wright, left, laughs along with Mary Sanborn, and Forrest Thurston, all of Bradford, Vt., at the Bradford Congregational Church community supper on Sept. 27, 2017. Oscar Tucker, right takes his seat at the table. Tucker and Wright are residents at the Bradford Oasis Home and Respite. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • After being dropped off by a church member Bradford Oasis Home and Respite residents Bevery Wright and Oscar Tucker return home after attending the Bradford Congregational Church community dinner on Sept. 27, 2017 in Bradford, VT. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Cassandra Gilmore, a support staff member at Bradford Oasis Home and Respite walks outside with resident Tina Libbey and Mia on Sept. 27, 2017 in Bradford, Vt. Mia comes to work with Brenda Egbert the owner and manager of the home. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



STORY BY LIZ SAUCHELLI
Saturday, September 30, 2017

Bradford, Vt. — At the end of a quiet residential street there’s a white ranch house outfitted with blue shutters. Lawn chairs sit under a maple tree amid falling leaves.

The yard is filled with flowers and other greenery. Goldfish swim in a pond near the home’s entrance. Inside, cheerful paintings hang on light-colored walls, an in-progress jigsaw puzzle is spread out on a table in the living room, light streams through windows and message boards and calendars track what daily life is like for the seven people who live there.

A sign out front — perhaps the only indicator that this home is different from the others in the neighborhood — reads “Bradford Oasis.”

“We aren’t a warehouse or an institution,” said Brenda Egbert, a registered nurse who purchased the residential care home in 2014. “Our goal is to be your first step away from independent living.”

And what does this mean? The six staff members, all women, cook meals, do laundry, coordinate transportation and assist with medications, “the main things that make it difficult for people to stay at home,” Egbert said. “All of those things you need to do at home require energy and agility. Most of our residents right now are quite independent. A big part of the day is keeping house.”

The services that Bradford Oasis provide fit into the larger theme of “aging in community.” Many of the residents had their own homes in the area prior to moving to Bradford Oasis. “People don’t want to leave home or leave friends,” Egbert said. “It’s traumatic and isolating.”

At Oasis, residents eat three meals a day together and take part in activities such as crafts. The home has capacity for 11 residents, in a mix of single and double rooms.

“Even if you’re not particularly social, you’re not isolated or by yourself,” Egbert said. Residents range in age from the late 50s to the early 90s. “There’s a lot of reasons why someone may not be able to live alone and age is not necessarily the main factor.”

Elementary school children will walk by on their way to and from school. They will stop to talk with residents and visit with Mia, Egbert’s Boston terrier, who regularly spends the day at Oasis. Roger the Russian tortoise spends the warmer months in the pond and is a favorite with the children. “Everybody knows who Roger is,” Egbert said.

Tina Libbey moved in last May. When asked what she likes best about living there, she replied, “Not just one thing, it’s everything.”

“The staff are just out of this world,” she said.

In the 2½ years that Bea Putnam has lived at Oasis she has loved “having the time to read, to do other things that I want to do,” she said. “I don’t have to worry about meals.”

Susan Hanna Rose, a registered nurse, coordinates the menu “with input from the residents,” she said. “They’ll tell me, and I’ll ask them, ‘Should I make this again?’ They’re very forthcoming. They’re a pretty good group to care for.”

Rose has worked at the home since Egbert purchased and renovated it.

“The feeling in the house,” is one of the things Rose likes best about working there, she said, “the sense that these residents have their independence here and have a quality of life here.”

Residents often get out into the community, attending lunch at the Orange East Senior Center just a couple of miles away, for example. “We’ll go downtown and see people,” Rose said.

They stay involved and active in town, “which I think is just a wonderful thing.”

In addition to staff, volunteers visit to do activities with residents, bringing books and providing musical entertainment.

The cost to live at Bradford Oasis varies. Funding comes from private savings or state or federal assistance. “Our goal is to be here for everybody,” Egbert said. That means people of all different socio-economic backgrounds. “We serve the underserved, and that’s very important to us.”

Jennifer Hauck can be reached at jhauck@vnews.com or 603-727-3230. Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.