As Katie Beaumont cared for her mother in her later years, she didn’t realize one of the biggest challenges of having her in assisted living would be isolation.
With tears in her eyes, 42-year-old Beaumont pondered how the last years of her mother’s life might have been different had she had enough support to stay in her home.
With her mom in mind, Beaumont created an independent nonprofit that offers services and bridges social gaps to help people age independently within their communities.
At Home by High provides adults 50 and older with services to help them stay in their communities, rather than moving to assisted living. Beaumont said most people do not want to be moved from their homes and placed in long-term care, and that concept became the inspiration behind her nonprofit.
The organization charges members $200 for the year, said Beaumont, of Italian Village. If members are low-income or live in subsidized housing, the fee is waived or reduced—which accounts for 79% of Beaumont’s members.
At Home by High has 53 members, about 25 volunteers and a staff of one. The volunteers help with wellness phone calls, lawn mowing and companionship, but as the founder and only staff member, Beaumont starts her day early by making calls and goes to sleep late after answering emails. In between, she pivots between meeting her members’ hands-on needs and taking care of her 7-year-old daughter.
During a normal week, Beaumont said she spends her time grocery shopping for people, planning social events, going to members’ doctor’s appointments, making phone calls on members’ behalf, writing grants and performing other tasks that help maintain her nonprofit.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic eliminating the social aspect of her organization, Beaumont is still working a 50-hour week. However, she said that helping her members is like helping her family.
“I just feel like it’s what I want our community to look like. I want people to know each other. I want people to support neighbors,” Beaumont said.
Beaumont added that when her first member, 85-year-old John Fuller from Harrison West, needed supervision after an operation, she spent the entire night with him.
“There’s so many obstacles for people that may not have friends or family in town to give extra support,” she said.
Beaumont’s husband and Everyday Heroes nominator, Mike Beaumont, said anytime he meets his wife’s members, he’s greeted with compliments.
“I’d walk in and they just were, you know, ‘Oh, your wife is an angel. She has completely changed my life. I don’t know what I would ever do,’” Mike Beaumont said. “She is just such a force for good in their lives.”
Beaumont, who has worked with several nonprofits, said that because a lot of philanthropic funds go toward larger organizations, she doesn’t know if At Home by High will still be here next year. Despite the uncertainty, Beaumont said her mission of helping older adults stay in their community will continue.
“Long-term care, I think, is not the answer for a lot of people right now. Because if they can live in the community and stay integrated in the community, it’s beneficial to everybody,” Beaumont said.
Aaron “Bo” Andrews, 83 from Harrison West, is one of Beaumont’s members. He said that without Beaumont’s help there are many things he would lose access to.
“Really, truly, she goes above and beyond. Katie is very professional in what she do. And she really care about people,” Andrews said. “When you call and ask for something, she will do it. And when she says she gonna do something, she do it. And like I say, she is very professional, and I love her. I love her.”