She weighed just one pound when she was born 80 years ago, in Pikeville, North Carolina, the ninth of nine children. Tiny Jean Carol Jones’ crib was a shoebox. Her ears were not fully formed which resulted in Jean being Deaf, growing up in an era when services and supports were more limited. Her father was tragically killed in a train accident when she was two.
Their small, tight-knit community banded together to help the Jones family, while Jean’s mother sewed and took in jobs and her brothers worked to provide food. Times were not always easy but Jean loved her family very much. They have always been the focus of her life.
Jean attended school until the eighth grade and left when communication with her teachers proved challenging. Over the course of her life, she lived with various family members including her mother and two sisters who have since passed. In 2015, Jean’s remaining sister Geraldine, with whom she lived 15 years, could no longer care for her. Jean’s family and Rolling Ridge Administrator Laura Anderson both worship at the same church and they turned to Laura to see if Jean might find the care she needed at Rolling Ridge, a DePaul Senior Living Community in Newton Grove, North Carolina.
She arrived in 2015 and quickly came to love her new home. She’s a fan of the fried chicken at Rolling Ridge, along with activities such as crafts and doing word searches. Jean also enjoys needle work, quilting and jigsaw puzzles which are framed and proudly displayed around Rolling Ridge. She’s a friend to all, loves her roommate and mealtime tablemates, and hugs the staff goodnight before retiring for the evening.
Jean’s family reflected that she is a different person now that she has independence for the first time in her life. All her needs are being met and family members no longer have to focus on caregiving but instead on spending quality time together. Jean recently went to visit her family for a few days and every day said she was ready to come back “home”!