It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.
~ Mother Teresa, Saint of Calcutta
“Hello? This is Debbie Christopher, and I’m calling to see if you can help me care for my mom.”
Those were some of the hardest words Debbie had ever uttered. Since her dad died 6 months ago, Debbie had taken over caring for her mom, Beverly.
Beverly and her husband Ed loved getting out each morning to walked their dog, Frankie. On their way, Ed would joke with the kids waiting for the school bus and Beverly would chit chat with the young mothers pushing their strollers. Often they stopped in at Mary and George’s to have a cup of coffee and catch up on the latest news. They always got back in time to catch Debbie’s morning phone call before they went off to volunteer at the library.
Now that Ed was gone, Beverly no longer volunteered at the library. She lost her desire to walk Frankie, and so she didn’t see the young mothers at the bus stop anymore. And with Halloween coming around again, Debbie noticed her mom hadn't put out the pumpkins they bought together last week. In fact, Mom hadn’t even touched the rotisserie chicken in the fridge.
Debbie knew that Mary and George tried to stop by, but they often found the door closed and the house dark. More than once they called Debbie out of work to check on her mom. With her own family to care for, Debbie thought it might be a good idea for Beverly to move into her home, but Beverly wouldn’t hear of it. She was determined to stay at home with the memories of her husband around her.
At her wits end, Debbie made that call to AKOTA. After our nurse made a home visit, we sent Amie to care for Beverly. Amie found Beverly wandering the halls of her home, wringing her hands and unable to settle down. Tearful, and shockingly thin, Amie walked with Beverly, picking up a little as they went. Gently talking with her, Amie coaxed Beverly to take Frankie outside for a little stroll, followed by a home cooked meal. Beverly ate a little bit, and Amie was able to get her settled down for a nap. When she woke, Amie told Beverly that she would see her tomorrow.
“PLEASE DON’T LEAVE” Beverly moaned, as she dissolved into sobs. “I just can’t stand another night alone!”
Amie’s heart broke. I will not leave you alone, Miss Beverly. Let me call your daughter.”
Debbie agreed that Amie should stay the night with her mom, and called us to arrange the change. Amie cancelled her plans for the weekend, so she could stay with Beverly until her Monday morning doctor’s appointment. During that weekend, Beverly and Amie cleaned together, opening the windows to bring fresh air in Beverly’s home.
With more and more Seniors electing to stay at home, a big concern for gerontologists is depression triggered by loneliness and isolation.
Depression in older folks is often under diagnosed as families often think depression symptoms are a part of getting older. The truth is that the majority of Seniors who are active in the community are not depressed. But Seniors who are struggling with major life changes: sickness, loss of a loved one, or a move to a new location may find themselves needing a little help. Beverly was one of those people.
With her doctor’s help, Beverly and Debbie came up with a treatment plan to get Beverly going again. Amie drove Beverly to the bereavement group at her church, and they worked side by side volunteering at the library like Beverly and Ed used to do. As she felt better and better, Amie showed Beverly how to use the Senior Bus to get around so she could get to the library and church on her own. She even introduced Beverly to the local Senior Center and she started playing Bridge again.
For a month or so, Amie cooked dinner and spent each night at Beverly’s house. But soon, Beverly began to feel more comfortable home alone, and Amie only needed to come a few times a week to check in. With Amie’s patient, compassionate care, Beverly grew stronger physically, emotionally and spiritually.
At AKOTA Home Care our goal is to love and serve our clients as Jesus taught us. One of the pillars of our company is Mark 10:45:
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
We educate our Care Team to love and serve all who call us for help and we empower them with the tools to bring the fullness of life to our clients.
Where would any of us be without a heart geared toward service?