When Earl first called Sequoia Senior Solutions, he was 92. He was the sole caregiver for his wife, Gertrude, who was 89 and had advanced Alzheimer’s. Her speech was unintelligible, and Earl, after 70 years with her, felt he was the only one who could understand what she needed. He was calling because he was looking for home care support one day a week so he could go to a caregiver support group. He didn’t really want home care support, but his son, who lived in Hawaii, was insisting on it. It would be the only time he had to himself.
Earl’s sister and his son both wanted him to have more home care support. It took him a long time to accept this idea. He was the strong one, the healthy one. Gertrude was the frail one. He had always been vigorously self-reliant, considered it a virtue, and saw no reason to stop now.
Problem – Stepping Up the Home Care Support
Over the next year, though, his age caught up with him, and, especially after hip surgery, he became weaker and more in need of home care support. He could no longer care for Gertrude or himself.
Effect of Problem
If not for the possibility of home care support, they both would have had to move to a nursing home at this point. It is unlikely they could have stayed together in a nursing home, since they needed different levels of care.
Earl added hours and days until there was a caregiver around the clock. Then there were two. Earl and Gertrude both needed so much care at this point that each had a home care support provider. Gertrude had to be lifted in and out of bed, the shower, and chairs.
Result of Solution – Staying Together with Home Care Support
Gabriella Ambrosi, co-owner of Sequoia Senior Solutions, remembers the day she paid one of her surprise visits to the home. Both elderly people were in failing health at that point. Gertrude was being given a shower by her home care support provider. “When she was all done, smelling good, her hair fixed, wearing clean clothes, she was wheeled into the dining room where Earl was,” recalls Gabriella. “The smile that passed between them lit up the room. It was as if they were newlyweds. You could see the love and light they brought to each other.”
“They were fortunate to have had the foresight to purchase long-term care insurance. Between that and their pensions—he was a retired engineer, she a retired teacher—they were able to get wonderful home care support,” says Ambrosi. “To be in their old, beloved home together, the familiar space they had shared for decades, was an incredible gift.”