Where can one turn for help when one’s spouse starts leaving you gradually due to dementia and Parkinson’s disease? I never expected this and didn’t know how to navigate these uncharted waters of my life. I was given Ellen Knapp’s name and she has been immensely helpful, even though we are still in the relatively early stages of this process. I have joined Ellen’s spousal support group and had several conversations with Ellen expanding my awareness of the options available.
Ellen is a one-stop-shop of knowledge for geriatric care but her demeanor makes the help more effective than simply sharing of information. Ellen is gentle and understands the pain and challenge of living with a spouse with declining health, but she does not prescribe a specific path. She has suggested options and then let me chose among them, staying in more-or-less control of our destiny during this difficult journey.
I recommend Ellen to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed and lost as I have been.
Ellen is a truly warm, compassionate person, with a wealth of experience working with older people in a variety of ways. She is a great resource, and can provide information on how to find, for example, appropriate housing or legal advice for seniors. She is a wonderful listener and her special concern for seniors and her gift of insight into their particular issues makes her especially qualified to help and advise both seniors themselves and their caregivers.
I started working with Ellen when my father first began showing signs of cognitive decline. We discussed long-term planning and she referred me to several elder care attorneys. When Dad’s health declined throughout the pandemic, Ellen was a trusted resource as my family navigated the next steps of selecting in-home care and assessing facilities. She is a wealth of knowledge, a listening ear, and a compassionate person overall.
— Claire W.
As a member of the Spousal Support Group I consistently find compassionate, concrete help while navigating the ever-changing journey my husband and I are on. Ellen and George set the tone for honest and useful communication among the participants. I am so grateful that my daughter helped me find this group.
Ellen is perceptive, caring, and has an incredible network of caregivers. I am eternally grateful to her and the friend who told us about her. When my dad developed dementia, Ellen met with our whole family and connected us with wonderful care-giving professionals who made a difficult situation seem much more manageable. She was always available to talk or meet with us about increasing or refining support as things evolved.
— Anne B.
Ellen does an excellent job supporting Mom with doctor appointments, errands, walks, and so much more. Her detailed communications keep me in the loop, and it’s comforting to know Mom has someone close by she can count on.
Ellen is an engaged and sympathetic listener who combines deep compassion with informed knowledge about practical approaches to some of our most daunting challenges.
— Stephen Jones
Ellen truly delights in what makes our mom special. She sees and celebrates her sensibility and wit. This genuine interest sparks Mom to the core, while Ellen attends astutely to more practical matters. When Mom was laid low by medical troubles, Ellen helped us navigate a thicket of doctors, and zero in on a routine to manage the underlying problem.
We met Ellen at a crucial fork in the road for our one-of-a-kind mother. We’re so thrilled to see Mom flourish again as an artist, and so very glad to have Ellen in our lives.
Ellen was the perfect person to help me with my aging-parents struggle. She has a gentle, soothing demeanor, but she is very wise and qualified. She really cared that I got better and stronger. She helped me process the truth and see the boundaries I needed to not be the victim.
Thank you Ellen. I don’t think I could have done it without you!
Ellen is a remarkable person who is talented and motivated in her life and work. Her patience and ability to listen are extraordinary. Ellen is able to see creative solutions and pursue them with great sensitivity to all individuals involved. She has explored and considered a broad range of ideas through reading, advanced education and experience. I have been amazed by the breadth of her knowledge and insight. But most impressive is Ellen’s drive to elevate the quality of her life and those around her through practical measures as well as the application of new ideas and philosophies.
Please don’t hesitate to call if I can be of any further help in recommending Ellen as your Geriatric Care Manager.
Robin Kay, MA Gerontology
My 95 year old Aunt Evelyn needed more care after she broke her hip. I took her to see several places where she might receive the additional care she needed. After touring Ellen Knapp’s personal care boarding home my Aunt said, “We don’t need to go any further. This is the place for me. Ellen introduced us to all of the people who live here. None of the other people who took us on their tours introduced us to the people who lived there. If the people who live there aren’t introduced they aren’t respected. It is important to me that everyone is respected.” Aunt Evelyn didn’t go any further. She lived in Ellen’s personal care boarding home until she died when she was 99 years old. Under Ellen’s leadership Aunt Ellen received excellent, respectful care.
– Senator Jeanne Nicholson – District 16
When my 92 year old mother needed a place to live out her remaining days, good fortune smiled. I was able to get my mother into Temenos House, and the wonderful care of Ellen Knapp.
Ellen has great compassion and love for elders. She truly enjoys old folks and believes that each one still has much to offer. Her belief is in them is so refreshing and seems to give them a huge boost in morale. Ellen also is skilled in keeping elders active without wearing them out.
If you have been in elder care facilities, you may have noticed that people, both visiting and in charge do not listen with any attention to what old people have to say. The conversations are often perfunctory and even condescending. Not so with Ellen Knapp. Ellen listens to each one. In conversation with my mother Ellen heard her say she liked to play Bingo. Ellen organized Bingo games at Temenos House. Mother liked to spell. Ellen also took that remark to heart and organized spelling bees that were great fun and very nonthreatening. Ellen saw that there was a variety of activities and that the activities changed to suit the group. Each holiday and birthday was celebrated to the max. Laughter was nurtured; smiles rewarded with warmth. Residents and staff had fun.
The residents of Temenos House did not just vegetate in front of the television, or lay in their beds. They were up, well groomed, and were doing activities they enjoyed. Each was challenged according to their ability. Each was encouraged, loved, and made to feel important. Every one of the residents was treated with complete respect.
I shall always be grateful to Ellen for creating such a caring place and looking upon my mother not simply as a patient, but as a valuable person and friend.
Please know that Ellen did not ask me to write on her behalf. It was my pleasure to do so. If you would like further insight or information regarding my experience with Temenos House and Ellen Knapp, please do not hesitate to use the above contact information.
– Gail Hageman
I have known Ellen Knapp for 12 years and worked for her for 6 years when she owned and operated her elder care facility “Temenos House” in Wheat Ridge, Co. Ellen taught me so much about not only the compassionate care of the long lived, but the beauty and wisdom we miss when, as a culture we don’t embrace this stage of life. Ellen is a very special spirit who has a genuine admiration for our long lived loved ones. Coupled with her practical knowledge she brings dignity and love to the process of aging and the care of the elderly. My own Mother was under her care for 4 years and the experience was a true blessing for us all.
Thank you Ellen!
My first sight of Temenos House was from the street. I was “casing the joint,” wondering if it would be a good fit for my precious mother and what I saw was one of many things that “sealed the deal.” Imagine this: the front door swung open and a spry little lady with a crown of gorgeous white curls ushered in a cat. That image, of a resident and the resident cat, it turned out, better than anything else, was the antidote to my horror of antiseptic smelling hallways and indifferent staff. My mom did eventually reside there from November 2002 until her death in June of 2003 and we were very pleased with her care. To a huge degree, we have Ellen Knapp to thank for that.
Ellen Knapp is one of the kindest and gentlest people I’ve ever met. She dealt with the residents in an unfailingly respectful, compassionate, skilled and loving way. Another memory burned into my brain is of her, with her arm around one of her frail charges, carefully, carefully explaining some tiny detail of the woman’s care/day/fear. As I recall, the lady had serious memory problems, was upset and not “getting it” but Ellen never succumbed to the frustration most of us would have.
Choosing to place a parent in any kind of facility at the end of his or her life is heart-wrenching. My husband and I had cared for Mom for a year and most of that time we were waiting for an opening at Temenos House. When, a room was finally available, we moved Mom in with a heavy heart but were quickly reassured that we’d made the right decision. I was at the point of emotional exhaustion to know that she was getting superior care was a blessing.
Experiences at Temenos were rich, varied and tailored to the residents. We chose this facility for many reasons but it was Ellen who really made the difference. The activities/atmosphere she provided there were far beyond TV and sing-alongs. Ellen made a habit of bringing fresh flowers for the dining room table and the residents enjoyed watching her arrange them. Around that same table, after lunch, portions of a book were often read. My mom had a special friend there, Evie, and Ellen made sure their recliners where side by side in the living room where I’d often find them holding hands.
Her staff was strikingly a reflection of Ellen’s stellar example. Hiring competent people to work with the frail-elderly is a huge challenge but, with very few exceptions, her staff was kind, loving and focused on each resident as an individual.
Finally, when the inevitable came and it was clear that Mom was at the end of her life, Ellen and her staff made that passage much easier. The last week, hospice came to mom and I was allowed to virtually “move in” to her room and spend the nights on a cot the staff provided. My siblings felt comfortable, coming and going, or hanging out in the special sitting room down the hall from our mother.
Ellen Knapp is a person who could easily call her skill with the elderly a “calling” rather than an occupation. Any organization in that arena would be very lucky to attract her and any elderly person in need of assistance might just think they’ve found an angel on earth.