Posted by: Bert Copple | March 3, 2010

Nursing Home Alternatives Do Exist

February 28, 2010 by nanniesinn

“When you have an idea that you are so passionate about that it keeps you awake at night, you have to go for it.  You need to find the strength and tenacity to make it work.” Those are the words of Lori Tenney, owner of Nannie’s Inn.

Spending a lot of time with her Grandmother as a young girl and visiting her in a nursing home sparked that dream for Lori. She learned early on the reality of life for the elderly living in a nursing home. She saw the need for something different and 20 years later she was able to see that change come alive in this sprawling ranch nestled in a quiet neighborhood in West Bloomfield.

Nannie’s Inn is a state licensed adult foster care home for seniors able to accommodate up to six female residents.  Lori and her staff provide attentive and personalized care in a home like atmosphere that is a true reflection of the change she once dreamed of.

Lori stated, “I met a woman one day who owned an adult foster care home for seniors and I knew that was what I wanted to do.”  That is how Nannie’s Inn, named in honor of her Grandmother that she loved and cared for, came to be.

A small group of ladies have gathered outside at the table. This is where they spend a lot of quality time during the warm weather with the caregivers and family members. The home is surrounded by tall trees and plenty of room for flowers and the vegetables that the residents helped to plant. “It’s a great atmosphere for the ladies.  Being able to get out into the sunshine and fresh air is important. The open layout of the house and this beautiful yard were all key factors in selecting this home” says Lori.  Here on the patio, or at the café style seating in the sunroom, the ladies enjoy nutritious home cooked meals and visits with loved ones.  Here they can participate in a craft or board game, and perhaps receive a manicure.  Corinne, one of the residents states, “I love it here, I could sit here on the patio all day because I enjoy it so much.”

Nannie’s Inn has been open for business for a year and a half. There are two certified caregivers in the home daily and one for the overnight shift.  With Lori in the home 6 days a week and a caregiver to resident ratio of 2 to 6 during waking hours, the resident’s needs come first.

Lori spent sixteen years selling cars and admits it was not her calling. “Having this home, being here with the residents, is much like being with family. The one on one time I share with my ladies and just hearing the chatter and laughter in the home, it’s the most gratifying thing I’ve ever done.”

Adult foster care homes can serve many different populations and are often misunderstood.  “ Not enough people know that this type of home for seniors exists” says Lori.   Lori’s interest is to serve the senior population with dementia as well as those that have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Nannie’s Inn is a home where a small group can live comfortably together in an atmosphere very much like their own home.  Also provided…..a large dose of peace of mind for the families who know that their loved one is being cared for in the best possible place.  According to Lori, “adult foster care homes for seniors are unfortunately, one of the best kept secrets.  I spend a lot of time and energy trying to make sure that as many people as possible know of this option.  It’s what I would have wanted for my Grandmother and my Father.”

All of the caregivers at Nannie’s Inn come in with at least three years experience in nursing home or private duty care,  receive first aid and CPR training along with medication management and blood born pathogen training.  Lori’s extensive interview process ensures that they also have the patience, compassion and respect that is required to work with seniors.

Dionne, one of the caregivers says, “I love coming to work because I’ve grown to love the residents. It’s great working in this environment.”

Lori reflects, “typically an elderly person who moves into a nursing home or adult foster care has lost so much by having to leave their home and part with so many of their personal items.  It’s helpful when the new environment is cheerful, caring and as much like what they are used to as possible.”  Like sitting on the patio waiting for hamburgers to come off the grill, playing a game, or just jumping in the car with Lori to run an errand and detouring to check out the flowers blooming in the neighborhood. “They need to feel like there is still a reason to get up in the morning” says Lori.

The residents of Nannie’s Inn have the opportunity for group outings like the one they took recently for a dog fashion show and picnic. There have been outings to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the IMAX theatre, trips to a nearby lake for a picnic and to concerts hosted by the local performing arts.

Running a successful business like Nannie’s Inn is a full time job for Lori. “There’s not much downtime, I’m pretty worn out at the end of the day!  It’s difficult for me to ever let it go, even when I’m not at Nannie’s Inn.  Television is one escape, but I do enjoy playing golf and camping.  Something I haven’t done much of since the opening of Nannie’s Inn.”  Spending time outdoors is one of her favorite things.  The ladies enjoy watching her do yard work and tend to the garden.  Lori admits that without the support of her friends and family, she could not have accomplished all that she has.

There are other services available at Nannie’s Inn such as physical and occupational therapy, an in home doctor, beauty services, and visits from volunteers and an activities coordinator.  Lori spends time networking with social workers, case managers, discharge planners and anyone that is either in search of, or knows of someone that could benefit from the care and services offered by Nannie’s Inn. “I’m trying to bring awareness to the community that they do have options when it comes to placing their loved one in assisted living.”  Adult foster care homes for seniors can give families that peace of mind that you don’t necessarily get when your loved one is in a large nursing home. When asked if she had any advice for anyone considering opening a home like Nannie’s Inn, Lori said  “It’s all consuming, you have to be emotionally committed to take this on.  Truth be told though,  I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

If you would like more information about Nannie’s Inn you can visit the website at or call Lori at 734 812-8746.

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