American House Begins Family Care Coordinator Program To Ease Burden For Residents And Their Loved Ones

At American House, we understand that managing health care for you and your loved ones can be tricky and time-consuming. And there may be concerns about what to do if a hospital visit or rehabilitation is necessary. That’s why we’ve partnered with Area Agency on Aging 1-B to initiate a pilot program at our American House Oakland Senior Living community to make things a bit easier.

Our on-site Family Care Coordinator Nicole Terry is your go-to person for coordinating medical care — in AND out of American House. She’s here to assist residents who come into the American House community and residents who need to go out to the hospital.

Nicole Terry

Family Care Coordinator Nicole Terry of
American House Oakland Senior Living

“The ultimate goal of the coordination is to make sure (residents) can stay here at American House and that they return,” Nicole said. Since generally family members are the ones responsible for coordinating care and making endless phone calls, Nicole said this program lifts the burden from family members so they can spend more time with loved ones.

“Plus, a lot of families aren’t knowledgeable on what services are available through Area Agency on Aging,” Nicole said. Many also don’t know about onsite rehabilitation available in the American House building and some don’t understand that skilled care is provided through a resident’s medical team. In addition, there’s also a wellness program for residents. So, the Family Care Coordinator can take care of finding – and passing along — all that information for you!

“I do think the residents are really benefitting from it,” Nicole said. “They are very happy. In some situations, they really thought there were no other options but to move out and we’ve been able to put a plan in place so they can stay here and maintain the best quality of life.”

Laura Broecker, the regional and executive director for American House Oakland Senior Living, understands that it can be very difficult to navigate through the health care system. She’s pleased that the program is making things easier on residents and their loved ones.

Having a Family Care Coordinator is helpful with controlling readmissions — or admissions — to the hospital and is in line with our goal of keeping residents healthier and well in our community.

“It can really help them with getting on that path to get the services they need,” Laura said. “It’s so overwhelming, so it’s nice to have that one person to do it.”

AMERICAN HOUSE

All residents at American House Oakland Senior Living are eligible for this free program. There is information available in the lobby, along with brochures, and Laura and Nicole are always available for any questions. To find out more about life at American House, call us at (248) 579-4422 or visit us at www.americanhouse.com to schedule a tour.

American House Honors Our Own Tuskegee Airman

Washington_Ross_Tuskegee_Airman_Southfield_2010

Tuskegee Airman, Lt. Col. Washington Ross, an American House Resident

At American House, we’re fortunate to have a whole lot of history behind our doors! We even have our very own Tuskegee Airman, Lt. Col. Washington Ross. Ross, who lives at American House Southfield Senior Living, always knew he wanted to be a pilot. He was born in Mississippi, the fourth son in a family of five children, and then spent his youth in Kentucky.

In the 1930s, Lt. Col. Ross said there were barnstormers who went around Kentucky, city to city, with their Ford Trimotor planes. One Sunday, these barnstormers came to his city and offered rides on the planes — for a penny per pound! So, Lt. Col. Ross paid his fare, went up in the air and was instantly smitten.

“I told my parents if I ever got the opportunity to be a pilot, I was going to take that opportunity,” Lt. Col. Ross said. And he did.

At American House, we love honoring our residents who are veterans – and we have quite a few!

FLIGHT TRAINING

In 1936, Lt. Col. Ross was a freshman in college and decided to join a program at the university to learn to fly — because the country couldn’t legally train military pilots since it was not in the war yet. He earned his pilot’s license and, although he received word from Washington, D.C. in 1940 that he was to report for the draft, he still had one year left of school and got a deferment — because he didn’t want to go to war.

After completing school, Lt. Col. Ross began teaching and noticed a sign for aviation training over in Tuskegee, Ala. So he went there and got his training.

“I wanted to be a fighter pilot,” he said. He knew that if he was drafted, he didn’t want to be with the infantry on the ground, plowing through the mud all the time. He wanted to fly.

FIGHTER PILOT

In 1943, Lt. Col. Ross graduated and became part of the 332d fighter group — which moved him to Selfridge Air National Guard Base. His first assignment was to patrol the harbor in Naples, Italy. He flew a P-47, an aircraft with eight machine guns on it. He said this was the plane he liked most to fly for actual fighting.

“You didn’t need to use your gun sight,” he said. “If you got on those Germans’ tails, you’d just start shooting and you were bound to hit it.”

In all, Lt. Col. Ross flew 63 missions in World War II. He flew P-40, P-39, P-47, P-51 and B-25 aircraft.

“My aim was to fly my missions and come home,” he said. “I only fired my gun one time.”

He was fighting for 11 months and then the war ended. He spent 20 years in the Air Force and joined the reserves, retiring from the reserves in 1981. During this time, Lt. Col. Ross also taught in the Detroit Public Schools for 29 years until he retired in 1984. Following that, he spent time talking to schools about his experiences in the Air Force and as a fighter pilot.

Lt. Col. Ross remembers there was a high-ranking government official who said, “blacks would never fly,” and when questioned why, said, “because they’re too dumb.” Pressure was put on Congress and the rules changed, and Lt. Col. Ross was able to see his dream of flight fulfilled.

THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN

In the early part of the 1970s, Lt. Col. Ross said he and three of his comrades formed the Detroit chapter of the Tuskegee Airman. His wife was also part of the Tuskegee Air Force, Lt. Col. Ross said, as a secretary — because for every pilot, there was at least 10 other people who supported them and composed the group as well.

Our very own Tuskegee Airman had four children — one girl and three boys — with his wife. We are honored to have Lt. Col. Ross at American House, sharing his bit of history with us.

AMERICAN HOUSE

We love to hear the stories our residents at American House have to tell! Call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a tour and talk to our residents yourself.