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GoFundMe donors help 108-year-old woman stay in assisted living home

Page raised $50,000 so far
Posted at 2:02 PM, Jan 14, 2017

(CNN) -- Carrie Lou Rausch, 108, has been in an assisted living facility for almost three years, but her funds to remain there were running dry.

Since her home in Columbus, Ohio, doesn't accept Medicaid, Rausch faced a problem unless she came up with some more money. But now a GoFundMe page has allowed her to stay one more year -- much to her family's relief.

Well-wishers from 22 states raised nearly $50,000 -- $10,000 above the goal.

Susan Hatfield, Rausch's daughter, said the last 24 hours have been a whirlwind.

"At this time, when there is so much hostility and division and self-centeredness in the country, that this many people can show care for a total stranger, this renews my faith that humans are good. That has been amazing for my whole family."

And those who gave on the GoFundMe page agree. "I'm thrilled that people from all over came together to help your mom. It restores faith in the good of humanity," one contributor wrote.

Another said, "We have loved Carrie Lou for many years. She is spirit-filled. God continues to bless her and all who are privileged to know this great lady."

More than 800 people have donated to a fund that will pay Rausch's expenses so she can look forward to turning 109 in the home.

"She moved in there -- it will be three years ago in May of this year. She was 105 when she left our childhood home. She lived in the same home since she was married, the home where she raised her family until she was 105."

The sale of that home has paid for much of Rausch's care -- until now.

"She fell a couple of times, and the last fall she broke three ribs," Hatfield said. "I was still working full time, and my brother was working full time. It was a situation where she needed a little more monitoring than we could provide.

"I knew at the time that they didn't accept Medicaid, but the facility was one she was familiar with. Another family member had been there, and she used to visit. It's close to all of the family. I decided to move her there, knowing that ultimately they didn't accept Medicaid. The honest thing to say is -- I didn't know she'd live this long."

Rausch's husband died in 1995. "It was my mom who had her eye on him. He was the handsome Paul Reo Rausch. She was the one who was interested, walked up and down the street until he noticed her, and eventually he did. He was a gentleman and she was a lady; they were not wealthy, but they were solid good people."

The fund was set up a few months ago, but it wasn't until the local news did a story on Rausch that the majority of the money poured in over just one day.

GoFundMe recommended the page remain open a few days, and the funds keep coming, Hatfield said. "Mom could live more than a year, and we will roll over any additional funds," she said.

"It's a tremendous relief. Without this I was going to have to sit Mom down and tell her she had to move, tell her she was out of money," Hatfield said.

"At this point she does not know she was running out of money. Why should she worry about it for weeks and months? Today, I am going to sit her down and tell her about it, tell her that people heard her story and ... wanted to help her. And that is just amazing."

Her mother does have some income. "She does get Social Security of about $1,000 a month. The facility where she's at is about $4,000 a month."

A few people on the GoFundMe page asked why Rausch doesn't live with her daughter, but Hatfield explained that friends and activities at the facility make her mother happy and keep her strong. "They provide more for her there -- more safety -- than I could provide for her here (at home)," she said.

"Right now, she's going strong. I don't think that another year is beyond a possibility."

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