Tony was a sharp and witty man up until the day he passed away. He loved woodworking and fishing, watching Jeopardy with his niece, Kelly, doing crossword puzzles, catching a baseball game on television and keeping up on current events.
Kelly explains, “He lived independently, enjoying visits from family and friends, until his health started to decline due to COPD and other ailments. I often worried to my sister that Uncle Tony may not make it another year.”
One day, Tony fell and broke his hip and had to spend some time in a skilled nursing facility. Kelly says that this was a blessing in disguise because it gave her an opportunity to address Tony directly about his motivation to get better and manage his own health. After a heart-to-heart conversation, her uncle began tackling his exercises and was even able to admit that he needed a bit more help around the house.
For a while, Kelly and her sister took on the task of assisting Tony with things like laundry and grocery shopping. They helped manage his finances and cooked meals for him. However, like so many family caregivers, Kelly had her own family to take care of, as well as a full-time job. She juggled the responsibilities of being a mother to a middle school-aged daughter and a college-aged son, a niece to Tony, and an employee at her long-time job. She found her lunch breaks being lost to visit Tony, her nights packed with errands for two different households, and her patience stretched just a little too thin.
Eventually, Kelly, her sister and Tony decided together that it was time to seek help. They called FSL and a social worker helped the family evaluate Tony’s home, lifestyle and healthcare needs. They determined that FSL Home Care was the solution for Tony and his family. A certified caregiver began coming to the house for a few hours a day twice a week to help Tony keep up with cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. More than that, she kept him company which helped with the feelings of isolation he had been dealing with ever since he had to hang up the keys to his old truck.
FSL’s social worker also recommended home safety modifications with the help of the Home Improvements division. She connected the family to other community resources like the local Meals on Wheels program which took away the stress and worry about meal preparation and proper nutrition.
After receiving help from FSL, Kelly and her sister were able to enjoy spending time with their uncle again. They reminisced about the past, enjoyed a crossword puzzle, shared old memories and created new ones without having to worry about the laundry or the shopping. Kelly was able to be a niece again, not a caregiver. There was more laughter and smiling, instead of stress and worry.
Tony developed a great relationship with his FSL caregiver and, in many ways, she became a part of the family. After Tony died, Kelly made the difficult call to his caregiver, Linda, to let her know. They cried together, reminisced, and Linda was able to support Kelly and her family during their difficult time. At the funeral, Linda sat with the family, because for the past 6 years, she was family.
“Linda and FSL allowed us to spend time with Uncle Tony, reconnecting instead of worrying about what needed to be done. Without the care Linda provided, we would have lost my uncle six years ago. I am so glad that we found FSL” said Kelly.
FSL’s Home Care program provides in-home assistance like housekeeping, transportation, meal preparation, medication reminders, companionship, personal hygiene, and a break for family caregivers. To learn more, give us a call at 602-285-1800 or visit us online at www.FSLhomecare.org.