The dayroom has been transformed into a comfortable hub for activities by the home’s elderly female residents, all of whom are legally blind. The spacious, comfortable dayroom also will occasionally serve as an alternative site for meal service at the Mary Culver Home, a not-for-profit, nondenominational Christian organization founded in 1866.
Executive Director Colleen Hill says the new room gives staff added flexibility in meeting the day-to-day needs of residents. “The renovation is especially beneficial for frail ladies who may not have the physical stamina or attention levels to navigate the building. With its location between our two residential halls, the dayroom is ideally situated for nurses and program staff to coordinate transportation, medication, bathroom breaks, naps and snacks,” says Hill. The project nearly doubled the space of the previous dayroom, allowing plenty of space for wheelchairs.
Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis helped fund the expansion with a $50,000 grant to complement monies raised by the Mary Culver Home for the project. John Thompson, president of the Lighthouse, says, “The Mary Culver Home for the Visually Impaired is an inspiration to all of us. Its residents deserve the best care afforded to them.” He added, “The Mary Culver Home has a wonderful mission and the Lighthouse is privileged to help an organization that provides unconditional support to the blind community.”
Hill says, ““We are extremely thankful that the Lighthouse for the Blind board of directors chose to support this project. We are mindful that this funding comes directly from the labors of people working at the Lighthouse who are also visually impaired. We are warmed by their solidarity, and it is with deep gratitude that we accept this meaningful gift of support from them.”
The Mary Culver Home has a long history of love and caring. The Blind Girls' Home was established in 1866 by nine young blind women searching for independence after graduating from the Missouri School for the Blind. By 1909, through the generosity of local philanthropist Mary Elizabeth Culver, a new home was built that specifically addressed the needs of women who are blind. In 1966, the residents moved to the one-story, prairie-style building at 221 West Washington Avenue near downtown Kirkwood. The home can accommodate 28 residents. As medicine has eradicated many of the causes of early blindness, the Mary Culver Home has evolved as a nursing home for women who have lost eyesight later in life.
“In the nursing home world we are a small specialty residence whose sole purpose is to provide comfort and a good quality of life for the ladies in our care,” notes Hill. The building has a simple layout, making it easier for residents to find their way to meals and activities. Staff members receive special training in assisting people with vision loss. The Mary Culver Home also plans daily activities that maximize the use of senses other than sight.”
Also known as LHB Industries, the Lighthouse for the Blind-Saint Louis is a non-profit entity that helps adults and children who are visually impaired maintain dignity and independence by offering Employment, Education and Support Services. Founded in 1933, the Lighthouse operates manufacturing and packaging plants in Berkeley and Overland in St. Louis County. The Lighthouse and its employees manufacture, assemble, warehouse and sell high-quality products to government and business customers nationwide including first aid kits, medical kits, catheters, aerosol and liquid paints, aerosol and liquid cleaning products, eco-friendly products and many others.
All sales revenues directly support Lighthouse programs including Professional Career Development;