PHOENIX, Ore.– An adult foster care home in Phoenix is closing it’s doors after 16 years adding pressure to what is already an under-served community.
For about 30 years, Annie Toliver has cared for the lives of others.
She still remembers the first person she cared for, a friend’s mother, who completely changed her perspective.
“I took the mother all the way for nine years through her Alzheimer’s and it was really an eye-opening,” she said. “I just learned so much.”
Since 2002, Toliver’s adult foster care facility has been serving the Rogue Valley. She opened the Willow House to help her clients enjoy the last bit of time they have.
“It’s quite an experience, it’s really a blessing,” she said. “It’s a miracle really that you can know somebody and take them to their end and be there with them when they go.”
Beginning this summer, someone else will have to be with them. Toliver says government regulations have made it harder for small foster care businesses to get by.
“I feel like that a lot of times the rules are made up in an office far away in Salem with no hands on and don’t really know the reality of what it’s like in these homes,” she said.
She weighed the cost of closing and what it would mean for her employees and the residents and realized it was time.
“It’s heartbreaking. I don’t think I’ve ever faced anything this difficult,” she said. “To tell not only my caregivers that they’re going to be out of a job but that I’m not able to carry my promise through that they, the residents, won’t have to move.”
Toliver says everyone, including the families of the residents have been supportive of the decision. But says there’s a part of her that will miss the people she’s been able to call family
“It’s very emotional,” said Toliver. “I find how much I’ve put into this and how much my heart is involved in this work and the love that I have for them.”