Morning Glory: Taking Care of God's Children

Morning Glory
Taking Care of God's Children
by Jennifer LB Leese

Walking into the home there were several residents sitting at the table coloring and enjoying the day. Ms. Jane Blair greeted us with a warm smile that grew wider and wider as we talked. When the activity switched to bingo, we made our way through the home for a tour.
Morning Glory began because of a family member needing health care. Diane Clippinger, owner and administrator of Morning Glory Assisted Living Home, looked at retirement homes with other family members throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania "I was very discouraged at what I saw," she said. "And I thought I could do a good or not a better job and then it became more of a personal calling for me as a Christian." And that's what she did - renovations began in the privately owned home in March 1998 with Clippinger doing a lot of the house repairs herself. "I had to learn how to do wiring, spackling, putting up walls and more," she said. The assisted living home opened its doors on June 1, 1998. The upper level opened 10 days later. Diane owned the house for 6 months before turning it into the retirement home. She feels that "God was saying, 'You need to do this'." Diane has always felt that she would work with children or the elderly. "This is my calling," she said with a smile.
Morning Glory is a home in the country. Upon walking into the establishment, you feel as though you had just walked into someone's home. Morning Glory is a charming country house settled on two acres among thick trees and bushes. Even though it is a retirement home, Morning Glory is far from the image of a sterile, impersonal facility. The home has a front and back porch, a garden, a small green house, and a side entrance complete with a welcome mat.
As mentioned above, the inside is a home. There are pictures hanging on the walls, knick-knacks placed strategically throughout, room-fitting decorations and more. It is far from "plain".
Currently Morning Glory houses 6 residents; they can hold 10. Upon touring the home I also found that the private resident bedrooms (larger than typical rooms) are filled with their own belongings and a few of the retirement home pieces. "They can bring whatever they want they can feel like it is their home." Clippinger has decorated each room with a personal, loving touch.
At Morning Glory, residents don't have to follow a cookie-cut day. They are able to do what they want - what they are able to do. Clippinger and staff offer assistance when needed. "We listen to music that they like; we do activities that they are able or what they enjoy to do." At Morning Glory residents have freedom. They can play board games, play cards, join in a game of putt-putt, play with an oversized parachute, go on outings to the park, sit in the back yard and enjoy the scenery, or just go for a drive.
When residents first come into the home Clippinger sits with their family members to learn as much as she can about them. Not only does she need to know what their medications and health needs are, she also wants to know what they like to do, what they like to read, listen to, or what they like to talk about.
There are 5 staff people currently, all of who share day, evening, and overnight shifts with a staff member readily available to residents any time of the day. Most of the staff has 25-35 years experience. They know what they're doing. "They all go above and beyond everyday," Clippinger said. "They're here because they know they'll make a difference."
Andrew Long is the only junior person that works at the assisted living home. Andrew had been on the job for 2 days during the time of our interview. "I love working here; it's fun," he said when asked about his position at the assisted living home. His mother, Sherry, works at Morning Glory as well. Diane likes to brag on her staff - "She [Sherry] does it all; she has 29 year's experience as a phlebotomist, she's a CNA and has worked with the Frederick County Courthouse as a DNA specialist, and on top of all that she is a state head with Morning Glory.
Morning Glory is a house that feels like home. "People love it," Clippinger said. "It's the best of both worlds here." Their motto is: "Taking Care of God's Children". They do that - they do that very well.
Clippinger took to a moment to show us her family. The wall to my left was filled with photographs of her children and husband. She enjoys that her family is supportive of her efforts. Her husband loves to help out. He comes to bake where many of the residents offer their assistance.
"We're small but offer a great alternative in health care. A lot of people do not realize that we do much more. We do EKGs, x-rays, labs, and sonograms on site; we have stylists that come and we do case management here. We have nurses, and podiatrists that also come." All "skilled" care at Morning Glory is contracted in.
"We're also unique because of it being a personal Christian calling. I am a person that loves to do hospice and so therefore it fluctuates in our census because of that personal calling," Clippinger said. When it comes to those in the caregiving industry, it takes a special person - a drawn person. Clippinger is one of those "special" people. "A lot of people are so involved in the only factors that they don't want to go into this area [field of work] because of the turnover. This [business] is very emotionally taxing." Clippinger is hooked. She travels 2 hours everyday to work. This is a "tremendous passion...I love what I do. It's a ministry," she said with tears in her eyes.
Clippinger loves that her residents think of Morning Glory as their home. She wants them to feel that way. She gives them freedom and insists on never taking away their independence. Pastors come in and visit them and there is a Bible study that takes place every week. "We do this so they aren't separated from the community. We do lots of activities here at the home that is geared toward what each resident can do individually. "We have picnics, go out for rides, pets come in to visit, and some residents [opt for] manicures," Clippinger said smiling wide.
Clippinger wants readers to not shy away from small assisted living homes... "Good homes are out there," she says. "Being small enables us to provide quality, one-on-one care for our residents." The ratio is 1 to 4 compared to 1-17 in larger homes. Clippinger knows her residents so well that she can tell who is coming down the hall by the gait of their feet. "That's critical," she says, "because if there's a change in the gait of their feet, it could be that the person is starting to get Alzheimer's and that there's a health issue going on." Because of the direct personal care, Clippinger and her staff members can easily pick up on it.
Clippinger also knows the family members of her residents. She calls them every week to let them know how their relative is doing at Morning Glory.
Clippinger wants readers to know that they should start planning for their futures. "There needs to be a public awareness that let's seniors know that there is another stepping stone." There are those who do not fit clinically into needing assisted living, and there are those who do not fit into the nursing home area. What about those in between? What about that other stepping-stone? "Maybe they need to start looking at budgeting for full- or long-term care," she said. "There are policy's out there that pay for assisted living. I just think there should be a better awareness."
She is proud of Morning Glory. When asked why she chose this name for her assisted living home, she grinned from ear to ear, took a deep breath, and said, "My father.
"I wanted this place to be a happy place. It's about living and happiness. Morning Glory is a name that came up because in the mornings my dad would always say, 'Morning Glory'."
Morning Glory is a special place. Clippinger and her staff have done a fantastic job in making it a happy home.
The home is located at 1000 Woodland Parkway, State Line, PA. They can be reached at 717-729-7025.