I have always had a love for helping others, especially seniors, who have so much experience and wisdom to offer, but it wasn’t until I sustained a serious neck injury that left me functionally disabled for several years that I began to understand the challenges of recovering from an injury, being disabled or growing through the process of aging. Being unable to lift a glass of water, much less cook for myself, clean my house or even open a door was simultaneously humbling and eye opening. As hard as it was for me to accept help when offered, it was even harder for me to ask for it.
During my mom’s extended illness throughout 2010 and after her death in 2011, I came to understand the importance of senior care at home and of having an advocate in the care process when the family is unable to address this need. My family was fortunate in that my father was at my mom’s side at all times, but even he, with his education and at his age, was confused and afraid. My brother and I worked full-time so we had to do a lot of juggling to provide the family support our parents needed. I will be eternally grateful that my job was flexible and allowed me to work by her side while she was in hospital, various nursing homes, and finally, hospice.
Unfortunately, not everyone is able to be near loved ones in times of need, and not everyone even has family to help them.
When Mom first got so very sick, both she and Pop were a little embarrassed by all the research I was doing online, the documentation I was keeping and the questions I asked of every healthcare professional that came through the door. Within a few months, they simply replied, “Ask our daughter,” because they recognized my assumed role as her advocate.
During this time, I found that home care for seniors was my passion and my calling. My appreciation, love and compassion for seniors have grown exponentially along with my desire to help them as they age.
To this end, I began exploring the possibility of opening a companion, home and respite care agency of my own. First, I needed to be sure I could provide the same quality of care for people who are not family members as I did for my mom. I earned my CNA 1 (Certified Nursing Assistant) license, and during this process, I found the answer to be a resounding yes! I went on to work with dementia patients in their homes and on a part-time basis I volunteered with Meals on Wheels, earned a Six Sigma Greenbelt in Healthcare through Villanova University and am now a hospice volunteer as well.
In Your Shoes
My father has now reached the point of needing a little assistance to be able to live alone at home. After careful consideration and in consultation with his doctors, Pop decided it was no longer safe for him to drive. Still, he is fiercely independent. My brother lives near our father and works full time. I live a little over two hours away. My father, my brother and I work together to ensure Pop gets to medical appointments, church, the grocery store and other activities of interest. We do things that used to be no big deal for Pop to handle. While we are fortunate to be able to do all we do together, we can’t do it all so sometimes we need additional help.
At Companion & Home Care, we provide the type of care we give to our own families: driving to doctors’ appointments, attending the appointment, taking notes, reminders of the results of the visit, reporting the results to adult children unable to attend, checking the refrigerator for expired food, grocery shopping, meal preparation, medication reminders – the list goes on.
If you or a family member needs someone with a moral compass to lend them a hand, call Companion & Home Care. I have that compass and I have the passion.