Visitors to the House on Haven Hill know they’re in for a treat from the moment they pull onto the long, tree-lined driveway.

Walking in the door to the fragrance of made-from-scratch apple-cheese muffins seals the deal.

Caregivers needing a safe, family home environment for the elderly or the infirm while they work, run errands, or just take a break can bring their patients (clients? loved ones?) to House on Haven Hill for just a few hours or all day.

Nancy, a registered nurse with more than 20 years experience, provides day services including mobility assistance, social interaction, bird-watching, table games and a meal.

“It’s incredibly demanding to take care of someone, but it’s not always easy to let go, even when that’s one of the healthiest things we can do,” she said.

Nancy and her husband, Keith, built the home in a picturesque setting nestled in the Salem’s southern hills and overlooking a U-pick berry orchard. From the outset, Nancy envisioned it as a place of respite.

“I could see people in wheelchairs on the deck watching people pick berries,” Nancy said.

The cost for basic services is $12 an hour with a three-hour minimum and the price includes a lunch. Extended services such as assisted shower, dressing changes, medication management, incontinence care and diabetic care are available for additional fees.

While Nancy and Keith designed the home as their primary residence, they always planned on sharing it with others. An open floor plan provides plenty of space for moving about with assistance devices and invites communication with few barriers between people occupying different spaces.

“I want to put a lot of focus on socialization and interaction. We’ll be eating meals as a group to foster that type of environment,” Nancy said. “As people age we tend to let everything from conversation to exercise fall by the wayside and if we don’t use it we lose it.”

She’s well aware that it can be difficult for both care providers and loved ones depending on them to separate for even a short period of time, which is why she’s invested in the details of the environment that create a homey atmosphere, like food. Nancy, who herself is battling lupus, manages her health through her diet and plans to extend that same philosophy to clients of Haven Hill.

Clients must be able to move with only limited assistance and be firm of mind enough to keep themselves safe.

The only caveat inherent to the home’s setting is a steep gravel driveway that might make it difficult for visitors without 4-wheel drive to access. Nancy already has plans to shuttle clients by car from the lower driveway to the home’s wheelchair access ramp if their vehicles are unable to climb the hill.

“We really wanted to make a place where people would want to come,” Nancy said.

Given the setting, it’s hard to imagine difficulty in finding people wanting to share it with them.

The House on Haven Hill is located at 555 Misty Hill Lane SE and the Waltons host a open house/grand opening on Saturday, Nov. 7, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Regular hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Contact Nancy Walton 503-930-2603 or 503-362-2391 for more information.