"I haven't regretted it. I like to be home, so it was almost just how it was supposed to be."
When Registered Nurse Brenda Foster opened Harmony Home at 1108 E. Simpson St. McPherson in 2008, she envisioned a place where she would be able to personally care for residents in need of assisted living in a serene environment.
"I had a good job, actually. I wasn't looking to change careers," Foster said. "But I haven't regretted it. I like to be home, so it was almost just how it was supposed to be."
Starting her nursing career at the age of 19, Foster has worked in labor and delivery, emergency rooms and surgical units in different hospitals.
“This is just the last stage of my career," Foster said.
Housed in a spacious 1950s home that looks out on Lakeside Park, Harmony Home features private bedrooms with large bathrooms for either single occupants or married couples.
"When I have two or three residents, I'm happy with that," Foster said.
Harmony Home is licensed to house up to five residents. Two living rooms provide plenty of seating for residents and friends or family who come to visit.
"People love to sit here. I have puzzles and artwork that we do," Foster said. "I have all kinds of albums, tapes and musical instruments. I really try to incorporate music with the residents."
Keeping an intimate, family atmosphere can be less stressful for residents with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
"That's why I want to stay small, so I can give them the care they need," Foster said.
Foster lives on-site and provides 24-hour assistance for the residents.
"People are staying home longer," Foster noted. "By the time they come here, they need an awful lot of care."
Residents can also choose to interact with Foster's four dogs that roam the backyard or visit with her grandchildren when they come by.
"Being real small, it doesn't suit everybody, because I don't have all the bells and whistles," Foster said. "I don't have a bus or a beauty shop, but I cut people's hair and I style it. I try to do whatever they need."
Harmony Home accepts private pay, long-term care insurance and Medicaid residents.
"A lot of people want to be in a home environment when they pass away," Foster said. "People stay here until end of life. That's what I want to offer them. Once they come here, they can stay here. I want them to not have to move again."
Working with the Harmony Home residents on a daily basis for months or years, she becomes attached to them.
"They're like family to me," Foster said. "Sometimes it can be pretty emotionally draining, but there's an awful lot of rewards to it, too."
For more information about Harmony Home, call 620-242-7981.