Dear Friends, as we approach this holiday season, I want to tell you a love story.
I have watched a woman in transition over the past 2 years. It has been a hard journey. Without the Council on Aging to assist her, I’m not sure how she would have ever managed.
Dorothy had been a housewife all her life. Her days had been full of school activities, bake sales, church activities and taking care of her family. Dorothy loved her home and held a strong sense of family and pride.
The children were gone now, moved away and busy with families of their own. Contact with them was becoming less and less. Alone together, Jim and Dorothy looked forward to retirement. But, at 69 Jim was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Dorothy, at 67, remained by his side though the whole ordeal. And what an ordeal it was.
Dorothy felt truly alone. And as the disease clouded her husband’s mind, and his ability to care for himself; Dorothy started down the road as his Caregiver. He was no longer the strong man she had relied on for so many years, but almost a stranger, who needed 24 hour care. Dorothy worked day and night seeing to Jim’s every physical and emotional need.
Finally, as Dorothy’s health was failing, her childhood friend, Lillie stopped by for a visit after church. When Lillie drove up to the house she was shocked at what she saw. Where a once well-manicured yard had been was an overgrown jungle. Dorothy was exhausted, and the house was in shambles. Jim was sitting in front of the blank TV screen snoozing with breakfast still on a TV tray. Dorothy explained to Lillie what had been happening the past few months. Lillie left in tears, promising to find help, and Dorothy, exhausted and tearful, was too tired to say ‘no’.
Thanks to Lillie, Dorothy and a Case Manager from Council on Aging came up with a plan to help her keep Jim in his home for as long as possible. Jim received Personal Care to help bathe Jim; a chore that was too much for Dorothy. Dorothy received In-Home Respite to provide time for her to take care of her own needs. They also received Homemaking, Meals on Wheels, and an Emergency Alert System. Jim also attended the Adult Day Health Care every Wednesday, and Dorothy was able to go to her own Dr.’s appointments. Having services provided allowed Jim to stay in his home and allowed this couple to have relief and dignity in aging. Their case manager visited with them on a scheduled basis to review their service; to be sure Dorothy and Jim were getting the services that would best fit their needs.
Jim has passed away….in his case the progression of the disease was quick and devastating. Now, Dorothy attends one of our senior centers, and enjoys visiting friends. Support from people her own age has been a tremendous help in her grieving process.
You can help friends like these in your community. When you visit our donation page, please consider Dorothy and Jim. Your tax deductible donation will help support the programs, projects and services that are a life line for families like theirs in Clay County.
Click Here to visit our Donation Page.