When Joan, and her husband Harold, both in their 80’s pictured their golden years, they thought they would remain in their home of 43 years in Columbus, Ohio. They never dreamed they would uproot from friends and family and move almost 400 miles to Nashville to begin a new life. They now reside in an independent living community surrounded by more than 130 seniors who enjoy: playing bridge, movie nights, morning workouts and themed parties. This story illustrates how a family can work together to find the right balance between independence and targeted, flexible caregiving to enable everyone to live their best life.
Life has a way of taking unexpected turns
Several years ago, Harold developed mobility problems with his hips and back. He needed help with some activities of daily living. It came to the point where Joan knew she needed to do more for Harold but didn’t know where to turn. Their daughter, Pam, was flying back and forth from Nashville to Columbus to attend to her parents’ care. Her mother ‘a real go-getter’ was used to exercising, volunteering, and keeping up the lawn care. As her husband’s mobility continued to decline, he needed more help than she could provide.
Pam explains, “In life, if you live long enough, you’re either going to be a caregiver or someone is going to be caring for you. The stress of wondering how things were going for my parents long distance was taking a toll on all of us.”
Pam started researching and touring assisted living and retirement communities in Nashville. None seemed to be the right fit. Joan says of the experience, “It was so shocking to try and picture moving into one of these care facilities. Many residents were wheel chair bound, and unable to function independently. It was depressing and we couldn’t picture going from living independently to having to sign in and out just to go to the grocery store.” They decided to visit The St. Paul independent living community in Green Hills for lunch and were pleasantly surprised.
“There’s no place like The St Paul in Columbus,” says Joan. “At The St. Paul, the apartments are large, very comfortable, our Chef fixes tasty meals and you can select to pay for lunch, dinner or both. You do have to be able to walk in on your own accord, but you can age in place at The St. Paul as your needs change.”
Targeted Help Where It’s Needed
After they moved in, Joan needed help to improve Harold’s mobility. She was referred to Caregivers by WholeCare, a partner of The St. Paul. WholeCare met with the family and created a customized care plan to meet Harold’s needs. His caregiver, Renee, visits him one hour a day Monday – Thursday to get him moving. She guides Harold in a daily exercise regimen for 60 minutes including biking, walking and stretching exercises to improve strength and flexibility.
His hard work is paying off. “He has changed so much through the care he has received from Renee,” says Joan. “He was on a walker when we moved here and now he uses a cane for balance. It’s been wonderful for Harold both physically and mentally. Our friends in the St. Paul, and our family, have all noticed the changes in Harold and we’re so happy for this gift of improved health.”
The family credits the versatility of WholeCare to provide in-home care for only one hour per day as the key to affordable care.
Pam elaborates, “There’s a clear difference that a caregiver (versus a sitter) can offer when you’re trying to follow a physical therapy rehab plan. It’s the flexibility we like with WholeCare to do a share plan with other families at St. Paul that makes it affordable.”
Harold doesn’t have any plans to slow down. When the weekend rolls around he’s quick to remind himself to exercise on his own.
Now That’s a Positive Turn for the Better