As the coronavirus sweeps across America, nursing homes have become synonymous with death.
A Westport family has a different story to tell.
Barbara Clouser — mother of Karen, Karla and Stacy — died Tuesday. She spent the past 6 years at Autumn Lake Healthcare in Norwalk.
“They treated her like gold,” says Stacy Clouser Shaw. “They are gutted.”
The nursing home was always beautifully decorated, and cheerful. When Barbara’s daughters visited they were greeted kindly, and treated well. The director made sure to stop by, and say hello to Barbara and her guests.
“Mom looked great. Her hair was done, and the room was immaculate,” Stacy says. “She had 3 meals a day, in a lovely dining hall. It was very calming to the soul.”
The staff did not know Barbara before she suffered from dementia. But thanks to their care and compassion, she smiled until the end.
“They have been so gracious,” Stacy says. “They made sure we could say goodbye. They held her hand until we all called. Because of this place, we were able to live our lives without fear for her. We lost her, but there is no blame.”
The Clouser family is paying it forward. On Tuesday, Dunville’s owner Steve Carpentieri, staff, and co-provider Big Dimps BBQ with chef Daniel Sullivan will deliver 95 boxed lunches to Autumn Lake Healthcare. It’s the daughters’ way of saying thank you, for all that the nursing home did for their beloved mother.
And for them.