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Serving the Susquehanna Region

Jean's Long-Term Care Story

by UPMC Susquehanna

Jean Found a Home Away From Home

At 87 years old, Jean Carter was an independent woman who enjoyed spending time with her friends. They would plan group lunches and enjoy dinners together. She would even enjoy a beer and pizza with them on special days—Penn State football game days.

The group of women Jean had surrounding her were best friends. They met while working at Hammermill Paper Company years earlier, but they still took care of each other well into their senior years. Leslie Smith of Lock Haven was the daughter of Jean’s best friend. When Leslie’s mother passed away, she continued to have a close relationship with Jean.

“Jean was a member of our family. She lived alone, so we would spend holidays and birthdays together. My children, nieces, and nephews grew up with Jean too. I never knew life without Jean,” says Leslie Smith. 

Leslie Smith

Staying Close to Friends

Although Jean was nearing her 90s, she was active and Leslie never felt she needed to check in on her. Jean volunteered with meals-on-wheels, the library, and the Red Cross. “Some days it was all I could do to find her,” recalls Leslie.

In 2018, Jean fell ill and it became clear her body wasn’t as strong as her independent spirit. After a fall at home and a visit to the emergency department, Jean couldn’t go home alone. With the help of Leslie, Jean chose to live at Haven Place in Lock Haven.

“It was important for us to find a home where her friends could come and spend time with her,” says Leslie. “Jean was very sick and we knew she might not live very long, so we wanted to surround her with the love and support she gave to us for so many years.”

Compassion and Kindness

Anne Holladay, vice president of operations, UPMC Susquehanna Senior Communities, knew Jean and Leslie from their church community. “Anne was working onsite at the time, and she got us settled in Jean’s room and made sure Jean was comfortable. She was so helpful.” says Leslie.

While Jean only lived for eight more days, she was in good hands and surrounded by her friends. In fact, one day the room was filled with friends talking about good times and Penn State football.

Leslie remembers fondly how accommodating the staff at Haven Skilled was to Jean. “They made her final days peaceful. Jean was so appreciative of everything the staff did for her. She kept saying “you’re so good to me” every time anyone came in the room to help.”

Leslie credits Anne and the Haven Skilled team for their compassion and kindness toward Jean. “From Christy in billing, to her aide, Stephanie, and any person that walked in her room—they truly cared about Jean.”

To learn more about the services and care provided at Haven Place in Lock Haven, call 800-488-4268 or visit Haven Place.

Haven Place in Lock Haven offers long and short-stay residents with compassionate, attentive care in comfortable, homelike and cheerful surroundings. The facility has a 34-bed dementia unit, with a total of 90 beds for residents.