BOONVILLE — An imposing brick home with white columns and a long tree-lined driveway may catch the eye of passersby on Woodruff Road in Boonville, but unless they look closely, they might miss the discreetly carved wooden sign declaring it the Share A Home.
Originally a private residence, for the past 30 years it has served the community as a non-profit home for seniors who can no longer live on their own, said Brenda Sue Hudson, the home’s director.
Hudson began working at Share A Home as a night worker and has served as director now for two years. The home offers space for up to 12 residents who each have a private room and amenities such as cable TV and an on-site beauty shop.
“There’s no place like home, but we try to make it as much like home for the residents as possible,” Hudson said. “We furnish them three home-cooked meals a day. We furnish snacks in the morning and afternoon. A big thing here is ice cream, at 7 o’clock every night.”
Residents at the Share A Home rise early most days, Hudson said and especially on Fridays when a local beautician arrives at 6:30 a.m. to do the ladies hair. By 9 a.m. on Friday, residents Linda Davis and Avonelle Vestal were munching on peanut butter crackers in a small breakfast nook adjacent to the home’s kitchen. Several other residents already had breakfasted and were gathered in the main living room watching a re-run of “Law and Order.”
Tommy Bobbitt, originally from the Lone Hickory area, has resided at Share A Home nearly two years now. He said they didn’t have a favorite show on TV, they just liked to watch whatever is on and enjoy one another’s company.
“We just watch TV and talk,” he said. “It’s just like a big family. We’re family here.”
The property surrounding the home includes a small duck pond, gazebo and long driveway where the residents enjoy walking when the weather is nice.
“We get outside when it’s warm and pretty. We get out and walk,” Bobbitt said.
The meals are another highlight for the residents. When asked what he liked to do most at Share A Home, Bobbitt immediately replied, “Eat!” Though he said he didn’t have a favorite meal. “It’s all good,” he said with a grin.
“They feed us good,” Davis agreed.
Vestal also said that having home-cooked meals was a big perk of the home. “I don’t have to cook anymore,” she said.
The residents order what they like for breakfast from a wide selection of options from pancakes and waffles to sausage gravy and grits. Lunch is served buffet style in the dining room and always includes a meat and two vegetables. Hudson said the residents typically prefer lighter options like soup and sandwiches for supper and they order what they would like for the evening meal. A dessert is served with each meal and Hudson said with a laugh that dessert was very important to the residents of Share A Home.
Share A Home has nine staff members who do housekeeping duties, such as the residents’ weekly laundry, preparing meals and checking on the residents in the overnight hours. A staff member is always at the home 24 hours a day. A nurse checks in weekly with several of the residents.
While most of the residents are content to stay in their rooms, watch TV in the living room or get out and walk on nice days, the home does provide occasional activities as well. Once a month they play Bingo and several area churches volunteer to provide meals or outings for the group.
The 12-member Board of Directors for Share A Home also hosts an annual cookout each July and a special Christmas dinner for the residents and their families.
The families are a very important part of life at Share A Home, Hudson said.
“We like for them to feel like they are going to their mother or father’s home when they come here to visit,” she said. “The families mingle and enjoy each other’s company and it’s just like a big family.”
Hudson said that it is the family and home-like atmosphere that most attracts new residents and their families to Share A Home. She said prospective new residents were often surprised the first time they visit.
“The most important thing for people to be aware about Share A Home is that it does not begin to resemble a nursing center. I think a lot of people get the picture in their mind that we are like a nursing center, but we aren’t. We try to the best of our ability to make it as comfortable and as much like home as we can have it.”
Share A Home has two rooms available. For more information about the home, call 336-367-5420.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @ripplereporterk.