KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A new assisted living community is helping people who are younger and often don’t qualify to live in those communities.
"When I woke up, the first thing, you know was, 'you're going to need open heart surgery,'” said Beth Canuetson, a resident at Norterre, a Liberty, Mo.-based assisted living and memory care for all ages.
Canuetson, 49, went into cardiac arrest and suffered a stroke in October of 2016.
"When they told me I'd had a stroke, it never occurred to me that I might not be able to use part of my body,” said Canuetson.
Canuetson used to spend her time working, taking care of her kids and hitting the gym. Now, a lot has changed for her and her family.
Since having open heart surgery, Canuetson lost the ability to use her left arm and leg.
"Now I have trouble getting dressed on my own or taking a shower on my own. You know, I have to have someone cut my food for me,” said Canuetson.
Canuetson’s husband and daughters did their best to take care of her full time, but said the responsibility of being a caregiver was too much. The family considered home health care as a first option.
"That was going to be almost $11,000 a month and that's not covered by insurance,” said Canuetson.
Assisted living communities were next on the list for Canuetson’s family, but due to her age, she did not meet the requirements at several different places in the Kansas City metro area.
"It bothers me that there are other communities that wouldn't move someone in who is 49 years old,” said Laura Mullennix, a community development manager at Norterre.
Canuetson’s family found Norterre, the first residential community of its kind in the metro area.
"In the assisted living, you have to have a medical need, however, we don't have a limit on the age of someone,” said Mullennix.
The Norterre community believes that anyone with a need should be taken care of and not turned away. Canuetson is now getting the around-the-clock care she needs and said it has lifted a weight off her family’s shoulders.
The Norterre community is in the planning stages of their next phase, an independent living community. The grand opening is scheduled for later this summer.