Russ Johnson describes the benefits of Escapees CARE for sick and injured RVers in Episode 134
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Today we are going to talk about a big what-if in Workamping. What if you’re injured, sick, need surgery or require some other type of long-term care, but you don’t have a sticks-and-bricks home to return so you can recover? What are your options? Fortunately, there is one in the great state of Texas.
Russ Johnson is the executive director of Escapee’s CARE, which stands for Continuing Assistance for Retired Escapees. It’s a program developed by the Escapees Club just for full-time RVers who have no place to go if they require significant medical care. It came about because one of the founders of Escapees, Kay Peterson, was a registered nurse, and she realized there was no place for full-time RVers to come off the road once they have sold their home.
Escapees CARE is basically a campground located in Livingston, Texas, with a full-time nurse and other services to provide care to patients as they recover from an illness, accident or surgery. The million-dollar center also provides services like laundry, housekeeping, transportation to medical appointments and even meals. It includes a respite center so if an RVer has dementia, their spouse or partner can have a day off knowing that care will be provided.
The compound is located 80 miles from MD Anderson, a large and well-respected hospital in Houston with a cancer center that also offers some services through the Veterans Administration. Escapees CARE is operated primarily by volunteers, which helps keep costs very low.
In fact, it costs just $1,100 per month for one person to stay at the campground and utilize all the services, including physical therapy equipment. For two people, the cost is $1,565. RVers do have to pay for their own electricity and propane, but one meal a day is available. There is also a storage shed included at the site in case RVers need to move some things out of the way to accommodate a wheelchair.
However, the payments are month-to-month with each month paid in advance. But, there are no entrance fees, application fees or long-term commitments.
It is set up to be an independent living situation in that people stay in their RVs, but come into the center for services. There is some extra help offered, such as housekeeping. Pets under 50 pounds are easily accommodated at the center.
I visited the facility in Livingston, Texas, many years ago when I was a journalist reporting on the RV industry. It truly is a remarkable setup. I’d say it’s one of the best secrets in the RV community. It’s not secret in that nobody talks about it, it’s that many people don’t know the service is available. Just tucking this knowledge in the back of your mind can give you a lot of peace-of-mind in case you ever need that kind of care.
It is not assisted living, but rather independent living. People still live in their RVs overnight and use their own bathrooms, but they can enjoy some services they aren’t likely to get at other campgrounds, such as a meal, housekeeping and laundry help, as well as transportation to and from medical appointments.
Respite care service is provided at a rate of $40 per day which provides help for patients who really can’t care for themselves. It’s designed to give a spouse or caretaker time off from providing around-the-clock care.
There is a wealth of information about Escapees Care available on its website at www.escapeescare.org.
To take advantage of the CARE program, people would have to become members of Escapee’s Club, and that costs $49.95 per year. More information on membership is available at www.escapees.com.
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