RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WSAV) – Richmond Hill Cares is on the cusp of completing a goal they set out to accomplish last year.
What’s the goal? Renovating former Georgia Southern University graduate Caitlin Jensen’s home to give her an ADA-accessible home in which she can prosper and start her next chapter of recovery.
Richmond Hill Cares founder Amy Barton said, “When we found the house, we did a video tour for them. I kind of toured her through the home, we kind of talked about its pros and cons.”
Barton continued, “While we’ve been working on the house, we’ve kept some of the thing’s secrets and surprises for them. At the same time, a lot of what Caitlin’s been doing in therapy is how to reuse her hand eye coordination, navigating her smart tablet and websites and stuff like that. So, she was able to pick out the wallpaper that we have in the laundry room.”
Jenson, and her mother Darlene, who will be residing with her, have been given sneak peeks of different rooms and ideas. Jensen has also picked out the lighting for the dining room and foyer, but the rest of the home will be a big surprise, according to Barton.
Jensen had four arteries in her neck dissected during a neck adjustment during a local Chiropractic visit on June 16 of last year.
She suffered multiple strokes, which led to cardiac arrest, and a traumatic brain injury, which left her partially paralyzed and unable to speak.
She is currently in an outpatient transitional program now, which she will complete on February 8. From there, she is expected to be welcomed into her new home in Richmond Hill by the middle of next week.
The home includes a wheelchair ramp in the front and back of the house, and an accessible sink in the laundry room/command center that Jensen will have access to.
“That way when she’s doing garden therapy, artwork, painting and things that she has enjoyed, she has a place that she can wheel right up to and wash her own hands and clean up her gardening tools and paint brushes on her own,” said Barton.
The bathroom had the most modifications and changes, that includes a custom-built roll-in shower, and will have modifications that includes an ADA compliant sink, toilet and grab bars.
“This is the room that requires a total rehaul, and that’s been stripped down to nothing and is being rebuilt. This is what we’re under the gun on,” explained Barton.
In the living room of the home there will be furniture with a 5 1/2-inch clearance that is needed in order for the Hoyer to be able to have its legs go underneath it so she can be lifted and transferred to and from her wheelchair to the couch.
The new dining room table is design that her wheelchair will be able to go right up to it and she will be able to sit anywhere she wants around it because it has a pedestal base.
A room in the front of the home will be used as a music therapy room. Her brother plays the guitar there will also be a keyboard in the room so that Jensen can continue to work on her speech with music therapy.
“We tried to design a home that not only will give them a place to heal and to be taken care of, but also one where her therapy can continue to happen in a natural setting where she will be able to use her home to continue to improve. The only place that I really don’t have enough volunteer support right now is getting the outside complete.”
Those who would like to sign up and volunteer to lay sod in the front and backyard and help beatify the backyard on Wednesday and Thursday of this week can do so by clicking here.
The backyard will feature raised flower bed gardens due to Jensen’s enjoyment of garden therapy.
“There will be lots of flowering shrubs and plants so that way we can attract birds and pollinators, give her something to look at and watch. As a biology and chemistry graduate, she’s very much an outdoorsy girl and loves nature. So, we’re trying to make sure that we bring plenty of nature to her backyard. So, we have camellias, azaleas, night-blooming jasmine, and rose bushes.” said Barton.
A generous local couple purchased the Richmond Hill home in December of 2022 to support Jensen’s network, emergency medical care, and convenance to hospitals.