Susie’s Place provides home for Hayfield residents
It was a lifelong desire to help other people that led Susan Westin to open Susie’s Place in Hayfield.
Licensed as an adult foster care facility, Susie’s Place has been a home to older residents since it opened in 2006. Today, four women call the facility home.
Westin said she has lived in the Hayfield area for her entire life. She said she was born in a “maternity home” just blocks from where she now lives. Her early years were spent in Sargeant, she said, and the family moved to Hayfield when she was 7 years old.
After graduating from Hayfield High School, she said, she went right to work at the local nursing home and started her career in care giving. When her daughter was born, she said, she went to work for Dodge County doing home visits that included personal care, housekeeping and cooking.
She did go back to working at the nursing home and in 2006 she left again, this time to start her own facility.
“It was all an act of faith,” she said. “It just fell into place. I think I always wanted to do this.”
The facility is licensed for five residents, she said, although she prefers to keep it at four, which she says is the perfect number. The license is also for residents 65 or older.
Susie’s Place provides a comfortable home setting for the residents, she said. Westin and her two employees, Jen Bruce and Renea DeRaad, provide 24-hour care for the residents.
The three take turns preparing meals for the residents who all eat together in the dining room. Westin, who also lives in the home, says she is the one primarily responsible for the overnight duties, although Bruce and DeRaad are both willing to stay overnight to give Westin time to visit her daughter and grandchildren in the Twin Cities. Her goal, she said, is get away one or two weekends a month.
The residents are all from the Hayfield area, she said, and she and her staff get to know their families as well.
“I enjoy it so much, I’ve met so many people,” she said.
But getting so close to the residents and their families can be hard. It makes it hard when the person dies, she said.
“It does get hard,” Westin said. “We all kind of grieve. We get pretty attached to them.
“I think you really have to enjoy it or you couldn’t do it.”