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The Bess Knott donor Story

Bess Knott

For three weeks during the summer, things were different at WellHaven Senior Apartments. There were no residents playing cards or visiting in the Fireside Lounge or enjoying their meals or spending time in the dining room. But no worries, these activities were all still taking place.

On July 17, construction began to install a new elevator, a project with a three week timeline. Without the use of an elevator, residents spent more time on their respective floors. People were finding new places to gather to play their games, spend time together and maintain the typical schedule.

"That's what I like about the place. I keep busy. I'm too busy for my age, I don't get enough done," said Bess Knott, a 102-year-old resident at Wellhaven.

The lack of elevator presented some new challenges for Wellhaven staff, but they were prepared.

"We had a lot of 'Elevator Down Meetings' to get ready for it. We had everything organized and ready to go. We knew what we were going to do and when we were going to do it," said Beth Ann Schultz, manager at Wellhaven Senior Apartments.

Residents would typically use the elevator to travel to the ground floor for meals and other activities. The "Elevator Down" plan included using empty apartments on each floor as make-shift dining and activity rooms. Meals and activities were held separately on each floor.

"We had Happy Hour, which normally all residents come down for. Activities Coordinator Laura Swanson held Happy Hour on third and second floor on Saturday and on first floor on Sunday," explained Schultz.

The old elevator wasn't always 100 percent reliable, so the new one should bring a piece of mind to Wellhaven residents.

"It will be wonderful to have an elevator that we are satisfied with," Knott said, "Because we worried about the darn thing for two to three years now."

Knott donated a large amount of money, which was put toward the summer renovation project. The renovation plans included a new beauty salon, office space and updates in the Fireside Lounge.

The decision for Knott to donate wasn't a hard one. She knew that her funds could provide positive improvements for herself and other residents at Wellhaven.

"That's about it, I'm proud of Wellhaven," Knott said, "I'm glad that they decided to use it for something that will benefit everyone."

To honor Knott and her contributions, the beauty salon is named "Forget Me Knott Salon." The new shop is located down the hall from her current apartment.

"That's going to be really wonderful, I'm really looking forward to it," Knott said.

The Fireside Lounge renovations will include new flooring and furniture. The flooring, which is the same throughout, is laminate flooring that has a wood floor appearance.

"Right now, where the carpet and tile meet is an edging and that's a fall hazard," Schultz explained, "It can be a challenge for residents who use walkers or in wheelchairs."

Residents often spend time together in the lounge doing a variety of different activities including working on a puzzle, watching television, having coffee time, or having a Bible study.

The new furniture features end tables and a coffee table, a couch, loveseat and around a dozen overstuffed chairs.

"Any remodeling brightens and lifts your spirits and gives you a sense of awesomeness. When they walk off the elevator to see the wood floor and the furniture, it will be magnificent." Schultz said.

Another honor that Knott received is being the first resident to ride in the newly completed elevator. But she didn't go it alone as Schultz promised to share the ride with her.

"We were excited for her; I think that she felt honored to do that," Schultz said.

Want to give like Bess? TLHA relies on charitable support to advance the work of caring any day of the year for the people entrusted to our care. To donate, visit www.tlha.org/donate or call us at 952-873-4744. Thank you for supporting our ministry!

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