Aug. 28, 2006

Frater Home Residence offers adult foster care

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

After raising 13 children, Frank and Terry Roufs were still not ready to think about only themselves.

“Our home just seemed so empty,” Terry said.

But not for long, because the Roufs made major changes to their home at 110 George Avenue in Winsted that soon became Frater Home Residence for adult foster care.

It was something that Terry had been thinking about for a long time.

“I always wanted to build an assisted living place. I wanted to do it my way. I like older people and I just wanted to have something that reflected how I feel about the elderly,” Terry said.

As a registered nurse, Terry had worked in many health care environments. She worked in home care for 13 years and liked the one-on-one, but she spent a good deal of time on the road driving to the different homes. It was especially hard driving during the winter months.

She found work in hospitals challenging technologically, but being responsible for so many people made it hard to find time to get to know people on a personal level.

“Nursing homes are great, but as an RN, you are responsible for all of the treatments and you just don’t have a lot of time,” Terry said.

Terry had thought of a number of possibilities for providing care for the elderly and spent the last three years, before Frater Home Residence, employed at Auburn Courts in Chaska learning what was required in a home for assisted living.

Frank and Terry shared their thoughts with each other about renting and building. They had considered possibly a duplex.

“We just could never come up with the cash to build another building. We were always trying to get kids through school,” Terry said.

When their youngest daughter, Jeanine, was ready to leave for college, Frank came up with the idea to use their home.

A large family is quite an advantage in a time of need, and everyone in the family worked together to remodel the Roufs’ entire house.

The entrance and main floor of their home was made handicap accessible. The basement became an apartment for Frank and Terry to go at the end of the day, where they are still available to the residents because the upstairs bedrooms have call buttons and monitors in case of an emergency.

They have called their business Frater Home Residence. Frater, taken from their first names, Frank and Terry, is Latin, meaning brotherhood, which pretty much sums up the family environment that they have created for their residents.

Their home is licensed for up to four residents and is considered adult foster care “because it is small and fits under foster care better than under assisted living or one of the other programs that are out there,” Terry said.

They currently have two residents living in Frater Home who are considered part of their family.

Darlene was their first resident when they opened the doors to Frater Home more than three years ago.

Since Darlene has been there, both Frank and Terry have provided whatever is in their means to give Darlene more freedom.

They were able to work with her to get an electric wheel chair that was a great help for Darlene in getting around. Terry took her to St. Mary’s Care Center for physical therapy to learn how to drive her electric wheelchair.

Frank is constantly trying to make adjustments to make it easier and more comfortable for her. One of the first things he did was to raise the kitchen table to accommodate the electric wheel chair.

When he found out that she liked to spend time out on the porch, he set up a desk with her computer and table for her to put jigsaw puzzles together.

With a lift van that is owned by Frater Home Residence, it has been possible for the Roufs to take her shopping, and to summer activities like fireworks and parades.

Their other resident, Gladys, has been with them for almost two years. They are planning to celebrate her anniversary at Frater Home. Gladys was a school teacher at one time, and loves to read to the Roufs’ grandchildren.

Both Darlene and Gladys are included in Roufs’ family functions. “It’s personal. I know their needs and wants, we develop routines, have a lot of fun. We give them more freedom to make choices than some health care facilities,” Terry said.

“We also have people come here temporarily after hospitalization needing teaching, working with prosthesis, time to get used to getting around before going home,” Terry said.

The Frater Home Residence is licensed to care for anyone 21 years or older. There are only two other stipulations that the Roufs have: they are not equipped to handle a resident who wanders severely or if the resident cannot bear weight. “I would have to have another person to help me otherwise, so they have to be able to bear their own weight for transfer,” Terry said.

Frank and Terry Roufs

Frank was born and raised in Winsted. He is a 1952 graduate of Holy Trinity High School in Winsted.

Terry is originally from St. Paul. She is a graduate of Archbishop Murray Memorial (now Hill Murray) High School and Mary College in North Dakota, where she received her nursing degree.

They have raised 13 children.

Frank and his first wife, Helen, who died of cancer in 1972, have seven children: Paul, Mary, Janie, Ann, Joan, Judie, and Peter.

Frank married Terry in 1976, and they have six children, Jonathan, Molly, Claire, Tony, Andy, and Jeanine.

The Roufs have 25 grandchildren.

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