Lamb Building Tenant Appreciates Resident Services — to A Point

Long before COVID-19, Hoover Chambliss had no use for long-term care facilities. That’s a conundrum for someone whose trajectory of the past 40 years seems to point in that direction.

But Hoover is his own best advocate and plans to remain as long as he’s able. His determination only grows as his abilities diminish, continuing the relentless progression that began in 1981 with an MS diagnosis, and is further complicated by diabetes and hypertension.

And for as long as he’s able, Hoover will maintain his residence in St. Vincent de Paul’s Lamb Building where he’s part of a community united in part by a vibrant Resident Services program. In fact, not over-relying on Resident Services is a symbol to Hoover that he’s still in the game, benefitting from the same offerings as others – a community newsletter, events and activities intended to draw residents out of their apartments and into common areas for events and activities that are informative, healthful or just plain fun. The Holiday Joy program provides gifts and merriment when low-income families would otherwise go without.

“The good news about Resident Services is that it keeps me connected with this community right here,” he said. “We don’t have to be alone.”

Hoover Chambliss

Hoover had moved from his native Seattle and was working in Eugene as a Medicare insurance representative when he realized he was going to need personal assistance and physical accommodations. “I’ve lost a little something every year,” he said. “I used to stand, walk, drive, everything.”

Hoover living at Lamb Building

Initially, poles were installed in Hoover’s apartment for transferring to bed, and the tub was cut out for easier access. Now caregivers provide assistance during part of each day.

After his old wheelchair failed a couple of years ago, Hoover spent time in a care facility. In a stellar example of self-advocacy, he had already ordered another wheelchair. Delivery took six months, but it arrived at the care facility and saved him from a long-term placement. He was grateful for restored mobility, for the apartment and community awaiting his return, and for his own self-advocacy.

“I have pretty much had to renegotiate my way of living at every turn,” he said. “That’s probably why I am the way I am.”

Given the opportunity, Hoover would share his knowledge of self-advocacy with others.

As COVID-19 restrictions ease, Hoover looks forward to seasonal activities like barbecues on the fourth-floor deck of the Lamb Building, where the afternoon winds feel like salt air. He appreciates the proximity of Resident Services, and how the Resident Services Coordinator keeps regular office hours and counsels residents in their own times of crisis.

He’ll pass on that service for now. “They try to be helpful and assist people,” he said. “I can appreciate all their services because so far I haven’t had to access them.”

Hoover accepts that the time may come when he needs another person to advocate.

“Until then, I’ll do it for myself,” he said.