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In the wee Sunday hours of Thanksgiving weekend, both of the Insley boys were within a mile from home when their car went off the road and hit a tree. Richard, 23, did not survive. Aaron, 21, was airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
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Produced by Zach Peterson
Music: "Homeward Angel" by Moby, courtesy of Mobygratis.com
Copyright 2015 Granite House, Inc.
Aaron made it through without a scratch but sustained a severe brain injury from the impact. After five months in the coma stimulation program at Bethesda Rehabilitation Hospital he was stable but had not regained full consciousness. Aaron spent five more months at Red Wing Healthcare while his home was being modified and supplies acquired. Tom and Carol brought him home on Nov. 11, 2008, just short of the one-year mark of his injury.
Richard had recently graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a BS in psychology, and was engaged. Aaron was a senior at Gustavus, majoring in geography, and was starting his application for graduate school. A memorial garden with donated flowers is now in place of the tree on 10th Street and Neal Avenue. Donations in the boys' names to the University of Wisconsin at River Falls were used to purchase an oak tree, and those for Gustavus were used for plants in the prairie garden and a scholarship fund in the geography department named for Aaron.
Tom and Carol still maintain a CaringBridge website at:
Granite House is the vision of three people desiring to fill an unmet need for minimally conscious adults. Tom and Carol Insley are parents of an adult son with a severe brain injury, and Anna Bohnen is a registered nurse (RN). Anna provided home care for Aaron after his automobile accident in 2007.
Aaron has been cared for at home since 2008, a year after his injury. He spent one summer in long-term care, during which time Tom and Carol saw other young people like Aaron. Talking with these families, they understood the obstacles to bringing someone home with a severe brain injury to be: providing hands-on 24-hour care, making modifications to the home, and the stress placed on other family members.
The Insleys were fortunate that they were able to bring Aaron home to give him more individualized care in a more natural setting and provide stimulation through home care therapies. Very few families are able to do this, and the housing options for long-term care for these young adults are scarce and largely in inappropriate settings.
Granite House is the realization of the dream of Tom, Carol and Anna, who with friends and supporters have worked to create a home where young adults like Aaron can live in a family style setting built to support their specific diagnosis. Their vision includes providing education, resources and supports to families, caregivers and the community.