Saturday, February 8, 2014

Community Attendant Program To The Rescue, Eldercare Blessings

I'm reminded of Pearl S. Buck's story, The Good Earth, in that I've been afraid to praise the benefits of the Department of Aging and Disability or DADS, as they're known, for fear of jinxing the program. At long last, following a lot of hoop-jumping, the ladies in my care are getting the help they need to remain living independently at home. Being homebound, according to their Medicare Advantage plan's definition, is that leaving  home is a major effort. That definitely describes the ladies across the street, who at 88 and 93, still maintain their own daily activities but neither own a  car nor drive. Thankfully.

With that independence comes other disadvantages like trying to cook meals, which has become a dangerous activity to someone in a wheelchair who is legally blind from macular degeneration. And to her younger sister, it is a matter of concentration, along with sense of smell and hearing, which seems to be lagging at times. Recently, a grease fire in the kitchen nearly sent the pair to well, we'll just say they were both fortunate that in a moment of clarity the flaming pan was moved to the nearby sink without harm. It was a real eye-opener for me.

Truly, I'm in denial about my Mother, who for the last twenty or so years, has remained so vibrantly active and able, not retiring until she turned eighty. Now as her skills diminish, I'm grateful that they have qualified for Home Health Services Care. With the two ladies living together, their combined allotted hours gives them a Community Attendant who comes five days a week, eight hours per day.

The real difficulty has been the inconsistency of schedule for the attendant since the middle of November when the program started. First, we had the Thanksgiving holiday, then a flat tire, then Christmas, then New Year's, then the stomach flu (out for 8 days) for which we remain grateful was not shared with the patients, then several days of ice and road conditions making travel too dangerous to come. If things ever settle down, it will be a lot better for the ladies who are fond of a predictable routine at their house.

The strange part is the element of coincidence (?) in the attendant's name. It has been strangely validating to be assigned a wonderful and enthusiastic twenty-one year old named Joe. Yes, a lady named Joe. I thought I was the only one with a name spelled like a boy. Other than my fictional character in The Pub novel I'm writing. Hmm. Strange. She's blonde and sweet, a young mother who takes pains in being creative with the meals she prepares for my Mother and Aunt. And what a major relief it is to have her help.

Good rice. It is good rice.


  1. Hello Peg. I see I am a little slow in my rounds. What a wonderful bit of news to find you are getting some much needed help in your great efforts to care for both your Mom and Aunt. Now holidays, health and weather permitting you can reassured that you are not the soul mental and physical support of those fine ladies.

  2. Hi Mike. You are still first in line to read this latest and please know that I appreciate your faithful views. I also appreciate that you share this link often. Thank you so very much for that and for the Hallmark card on Valentine's Day. Much as I feared, within 12 hours of posting this we had an incident over at Mom's house where Louise fell and ended up in the hospital. Bad rice, indeed.
    We're still hopeful that she can return to her former independence, yet without night time supervision (the fall happened at 9pm after the attendant left) it has become quite dangerous. As always, I'm leaving it in the hands of higher powers to move us forward in the right direction.
    Thanks as always for dropping in and for your comments.

  3. Dear Peg,

    So grateful to Mike for sharing this and your other sorry I have been slow, Jo sounds like a lovely lady indeed. My thoughts and prayers are working overtime and I will ask my sister to do the same for Aunt Louise and your Momma as well.
    Love you much, Maria

  4. Sweet Maria, I am so grateful for your thoughts and prayers and for those of your family (Sister). I feel very blessed to have a wonderful friend like you. The ladies are always delighted to hear that you've asked about them and thrilled to get your adorable greeting cards. Thank you for being such a good friend and for loving my Momma and Aunt Louise. Loveu, Peg