- Associated Press - Saturday, May 21, 2016

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) - Evan LaPointe holds many fond memories of his foster grandmother, Audrey Roberts, caring for him when he was a child.

Now as a young man of 21, he is trying to help Roberts, 104, remain in her Park Street home. As of recently, she outlived her entire life savings of $180,000. LaPointe started a GoFundMe account and hopes Roberts’ story on the crowd funding website will touch the hearts of the people who read her story.

Roberts worked hard her entire life, first in a commercial laundry facility for 32 years and later in nutrition at the County Hospital, which eventually became The Medical Center. The former Richardsville farm girl began her working life making 10 cents an hour. She worked 10-hour days to earn a dollar a day.

Roberts married, had a son, saved her money and paid cash for her home, all $5,000 of it. Her only child, a son, was killed in a car accident on a snowy night when he was 21 years old, and her husband died decades ago. Her only living sibling, a brother, is 99 years old.

Roberts receives $970 a month in Social Security. Her mind is sharp. Her vision and hearing are that of a person half a century younger. Her grip is strong but her mobility requires that she have around-the-clock care that costs $1,680 a week. Without caregivers, she would be forced out of her tiny three-room home into a nursing home, the one place she doesn’t want to be, ever.

“She needs to stay in her home,” LaPointe said. “A few years ago she fell and broke her hip. We saw how bad it got mentally for her not being in her home. She was in a nursing home. It’s best for her to stay in her own house. That’s what she wants, she wants to die in her own house.”

Evan’s parents, Roger and Lisa LaPointe, love Roberts like family and provide what help they can. Lisa LaPointe mows Roberts’ yard and stays with her when one of the caregivers can’t. Her caregivers often buy her groceries to make sure Roberts’ kitchen stays stocked. Lisa LaPointe pays her cable television bill so that she can watch her favorite old movies and television shows.

“I always promised her I wouldn’t put her in a nursing home,” Lisa LaPointe said.

Lisa and Evan, together with one of Audrey’s caregivers, Nell Norwood, take her to the salon twice a month to have her thick, short, dark blonde hair washed, set, dried and styled. Roberts is particular about her hair. Her hair dresser, Jerri Romans, won’t take any money for washing and styling Roberts’ hair.

“She is so loved,” Lisa said through tears.

Bowling Green firefighters at the East Sixth Street fire hall across the street from Roberts’ home come by on snowy days and shovel a path for Roberts’ caregivers so that they can get in and out of the house.

“I’ve never heard her say a bad thing about anybody,” Romans said. “She never says anything negative. She’s our own celebrity.”

When Roberts shows up to get her hair done, everyone in the salon stops working and comes to hug her. When she turned 100 four years ago, the ladies at the salon held a birthday party for her. City firefighters also held a birthday party for Roberts a few years ago.

Roberts has fretted recently about running out of money and has heartbreakingly sat and asked Lisa how she would continue to live without any savings.

“Her house is tiny,” Evan said. “We know it’s not worth a ton. A reverse mortgage wouldn’t give her another year in her home. I just thought this was a good idea,” he said of starting the crowd funding page for Roberts. “My brother, Anthony LaPointe, came up with the idea.”

Roberts loves Evan and keeps his baby pictures up her home.

“I was babysitting after I retired,” Roberts said. “I was here by myself and wanting something to do. I heard about foster grandparents. We had fun. We had all those children.”

One year she was elected as foster grandparent queen. She saved the crown.

“It brings back all those memories,” she said.

Roberts is grateful that one of those many children is now trying to help her.

“I think it’s great. He’s the nicest guy. He’s a sweetheart. He was a good baby. Now, he’s a good man.”

Roberts reads her Bible daily. She is no longer able to get out to her church home at Fairview Baptist Church to attend Sunday services. Now she watches First Baptist Church’s Sunday services on TV.

The 23rd Psalm are her favorite words in the Bible. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want …”

She becomes misty eyed as she repeats the entire verse.

Roberts prays daily, she prays for her friends, asks forgiveness for her soul and takes comfort in the words of her well-read Bible.

She has lived an austere life and wants only to remain in her home in her final years.

“Money, you don’t need it, only just to get by. That’s all I want. I don’t want to be rich,” she said.

___

Information from: Daily News, https://www.bgdailynews.com

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