Care Is What We Do & How We Serve
As a Care Manager for A Better Solution In Home Care, I had the honor of assisting clients struggling with Parkinson’s disease (PD). While on assessments I’d listen to the stories of who they were before their bodies yielded to the disease, rendering them slaves to random spasms and muscle stiff-ness. My first encounter with a client suffering from PD was not what I expected. His name was Tom. He had no wife, only a daughter that lived out of state. Tom was all alone. He lived in a Board & Care where he was looked after by staff. It was a sunny autumn day, I walked up the stone path that lead to Tom’s room. I was startled to find a stocky gray-haired man with a bow and arrow in hand. I quietly stood back. If this indeed was Tom, I thought, that arrow can potentially go anywhere, I mean ANYWHERE. Tom looked back and gave me the kindest smile, like he innately knew how this relationship would alter my life.
Tom put his arrows away. We sat and began introductions and the usual assessment questions like ‘What can I help you with’ and so on. Meeting Tom would begin to shape how I defined care and what I would learn about having PD. Before Tom, I saw PD and behind the disease I saw people afflicted with this illness. I’d always thought that IS the story — the disease, not the person. The climactic scene was always the diagnosis and the rest was just the details, just waiting for death. I came to know Tom fairly well. I was one of the few people that visited him every week. Tom shared with me his fears, his short stories, photos and the things he missed like dates with the love of his youth. He missed his grandchildren. He missed whiskey and fast cars, shooting a gun and fishing. He challenged me as a professional, he challenged ABS’s Plan of Care, he thought we needed more probing questions about the person requiring the care and he was right. I learned that care was not just surviving, not just taking one’s meds on time and making it to doctors appointments, but it also meant protecting someone’s legacy. the legacy being the lives one touches with their own. Does legacy die with the person creating it or is it generously shared with others? Tom shared generously with me. Even on days when he just didn’t want to. He fought the bitterness of regret and the sting of depression.
In the years that followed, I accompanied Tom to many appointments and facilitated video chats between him and his grandchildren. I scribed a few of his short stories for him and even purchased an audio recorder he could use when he was no longer able to write. Tom taught me care isn’t limited to Activities of Daily Living, it’s an opportunity to connect with something greater than ourselves. Our chance to impact a legacy and to keep it alive. Tom changed the way I see PD and what a diagnosis can mean. Tom taught me how to live, give and receive.
If your family needs assistance with caregiving support, A Better Solution In Home Care is here to help. A Better Solution In Home Care has locations in the following areas: San Diego, CA; Riverside, CA; Denver, CO; San Gabriel Valley, CA; South Orange County, CA; Coastal Orange County, CA; Henderson, NV and San Fernando Valley, CA.