We have a special treat for you today! Esteemed poet, teacher, and friend, Henry Walker, wrote this tribute to homecare especially for Homecare Advocate. His compelling story about his mother’s homecare experience is touching and reminds us about the quality of life that’s possible through homecare services. Enjoy!
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Home is where the heart, and the care can be
Who are the real lovers of God? Perhaps it is any who know that the Divine has no hands but theirs, no feet but theirs, no other eyes through which to look out and see what needs to be done.
In heart after heart, in family after family, someone needs care and someone else steps forward to help. Such a gift of one’s self is sacred, and government can be a big help in allowing each gift to be given. Such a gift is morally right and enriching. And, when the bottom line is figured, the safety net closer to home is cheaper than the gift of hospital and nursing home.
My mother spent her life caring for others: her spouse, her children, her family, her students–anyone who needed help, a meal, a bed, a shoulder, an ear. As long as she could, she took care of herself. Like her mother, she worked all the time, for home is hard to make and bills don’t pay themselves.
As Alzheimer’s slipped into her, she forgot to take her pills and to pay her bills. For the first time, her body had trouble processing sugar and nightmares were in the room with her. One last time she walked and then she didn’t. It’s wonderful how long we can each take care of ourselves in the bathroom, and what a logistical and emotional nightmare when we can’t. What were we to do?
Mother was well-prepared with handicap-accessible quarters and a nearby room for a caregiver. She even had insurance to pay for a nursing home. When she was still “with it,” she compared nearby nursing homes and liked the one that had five meals a day. She wanted, and we wanted for her, to stay at home as long as possible.
We were incredibly lucky in finding a caregiver who already loved Mother and who found a way to stay with her, and then to find others in her family who would share the work and challenge. We were incredibly lucky to have two of her nieces, with substantial financial resources, feel the “calling” to pay for the caregivers. Mother had stored up the capital with them in how she had lived her life with them.
What jumps out of all this to me is that our country often does its best for our aged and for those infirm when we can find the way for them to stay at home and get the care there. Our experience with home health care nurses was wonderful. The Hospice nurses were wonderful. The caregivers we had were wonderful. And the cost to us all was far less at home than at a hospital or a nursing home. May we find the way to have home health care even more supported and possible. People deserve the best, whether in hospital, nursing home, or at home. Let’s make it so.
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We’ll be featuring different homecare stories and perspectives all month, and we encourage you to send in your own story! Please e-mail it to advocate(at)lambertshc.com, and we may just pick yours for next week’s Faces of Homecare Feature.
Happy Homecare & Family Caregivers Month!