The name “Tabitha” honors a female disciple in Joppa known for her good works and charitable deeds (Acts 9:36-43). Peter raised Tabitha from the dead after some widows appealed to him to do so.
Tabitha Inc. is an affiliated social service agency of the ELCA. It got its start 127 years ago when a Lutheran pastor, Henry Heiner, and his family started caring for orphans and the elderly in Lincoln, Neb.
Today another pastor, the Nebraska Synod bishop, currently Brian Maas, serves as an ad hoc member of Tabitha’s board of directors.
Jim Sinamark, an 82-year-old retired pressman, describes his three years living in a 12-person, family style senior center in Lincoln, Neb., as a delightful experience.
“I can’t say enough,” said Sinamark, who has Parkinson’s disease. “The people are great. They treat me like a king. The food is good. The place is so clean. … You’d have to go a heck of a long way to find anything like it.”
Sinamark, whose expenses are covered by Medicaid, had tried an independent living high-rise and a traditional nursing home, but his frequent falls went unattended. He conceded he could no longer live without attentive care.
His home, a Green House® run by ELCA-affiliated Tabitha Inc., features private rooms, on-site nursing care, on-call physicians, personal emergency-call alerts, chapel services, a beauty shop and family style dinners with residents sitting at a single table. Activities include visits from groups such as the Girl Scouts, outings to the zoo, dinners at a country club and other events.
Jean Schmutte is a part-time “continuum navigator,” Tabitha’s name for case managers, whose mother, Fleeta Seba, has lived in a Green House since May 2012. Schmutte is comforted by the fact that residents can stay as their condition worsens, even after Medicaid takes over payments.
Seba, 92, fell twice in the past year — first fracturing her neck, then her hip. She now uses a wheelchair.
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© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers