Wendy Rickenbach-Barclay, Owner-Certified Senior Advisor
Over the past few months, you may have read previous CarePatrol Health and Wellness pieces, which included much about statistics and challenges that seniors and their families face while transitioning through the process of aging. During this month of ‘Happiness Happens’ we thought that we would simply share a bit about recent heartwarming, light and happy moments experienced by our CarePatrol Senior Advisor team.
Our CarePatrol team has the daily privilege and honor of being entrusted by seniors and their families with helping them find independent living, assisted living, memory care and in-home care options. We spend quality time learning about care needs, lifestyle preferences and financial considerations as we partner with our families on their journey. Over the years, CarePatrol has spent thousands of hours researching care option within the extensive list of choices here in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch. We meet many wonderful seniors and their families in need of education about care options, average cost of care and ways to pay for care. As we have been learning and teaching we have certainly come across some special stories that are worth sharing such as the one below.
One morning CarePatrol received a not-so-uncommon call from a caregiver daughter, who we will refer to here as Jane, with a palpable angst in her voice about the worries for her parents. Jane began describing the increasing challenges that her parents, who we will name Albert and Lil, were having with managing their self-care and personal affairs. Jane was referred to us by one of our community partners who provides invaluable support to local families and recommends our trusted service to those in need of eldercare education and support. Upon meeting with the family at Albert and Lil’s home, our Senior Care Advisor became very aware of the many obstacles that were impacting this family’s physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Albert, so thankful and welcoming upon our visit for a care discovery, told us about his worries. Albert was especially concerned about Lil, his ‘Bride’, who had recently been informed that she could no longer drive due to her vision. As the couple sat next to each other holding hands on the couch they described how his hearing & physical limitations along with her being near blind and somewhat forgetful accompanied by the increasing isolation makes them joke quite a bit. Lil says, “We joke when we get too frustrated. I can’t tell you how many times we have yelled out like kids on a long car ride, hello retirement bliss, are we there yet?
Noticeable were the little adjustments about the home that made sense to them in their day-to-day operating such as the pills that lay open like a salad in a shallow bowl on their table. Clearly, this made it easier to remember at mealtime, without a magnifying glass to read a label or that struggle to remove a small bottle cap with an arthritic hand. Jane roared in laughter at the ingenuity though this medication administration practice made her more fearful than ever for their safety.
“We’ve worked so hard to get here!” Lil exclaimed as they both laughed again. Albert was a watchmaker and WWII Vet and Lil was a seamstress. Together they enjoy the arts, going to church, gardening and living in their modest home. Albert twinkled, “My bride and I both knew it was time for her to fully retire when she would get halfway to the seamstress shop and then come home. Albert stated, “I don’t complain all day like some ole folks do about their aches having pains, I would say I’m just like new. That is; no hair, no teeth and the diaper is usually wet! What a pair we are!”
With that all clear, we got straight to work to get this loving couple and their worried daughter some much-needed assistance. Albert and Lil were hoping for less day to day struggles and Jane to have better life balance with regard to her parents, her own self-
care, husband, kids, and work. CarePatrol quickly made referrals for the much-needed options for Elder Law Attorney to assure their legal, personal and financial affairs were in place, exploration of Veteran’s Aid and Attendance eligibility, in-home care for support and referrals to safe and quality care options outside of the home should that become best fitting for their advancing care needs.
Within a couple of months from our initial visit, the day-to-day logistics became more challenging for Albert and Lil. After taking tours with us to three assisted living communities which offered the right level of care, preferred social aspects, budget, and most importantly a more suitable living space, they made a choice. They chose the one that had the cozy breakfast nook which they now enjoy tremendously, without their bowl of pills on it!
Upon our follow up visit with Albert and Lil, our Senior Care Advisor jokingly asked, “Are we there yet, retirement bliss yet? “To what Albert replied, “Yes, we are here thanks to you, we are together and with what we need to be safe and my bride and I are happy together. We are eating healthier, we have time to enjoy each other as husband and wife, we feel better and get to church. And, while we would prefer to be 30 again we can say, we’ve been together for 60 years and are happy for that!”
We hope that ‘Happiness Happens’ this month and every month for all of our seniors and families and should you, a family member, friend or maybe a neighbor have eldercare needs we hope that you will give CarePatrol a call so we may serve you as well.
Care Patrol educates families about the various care options, average cost of care and ways to pay for care at NO COST!
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