Bessie remains young at heart by partaking in a continuum of services at Family Eldercare. Bessie desires to be social, but her mobility has limited her. Family Eldercare ensures that Bessie continues to age in place while providing additional resources to ensure she stays strong, engaged and vibrant!
Bessie, like many of the individuals Family Eldercare serves, benefits from the continuum of services that we offer. She is a resident at North Loop Apartments, one of the four Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) properties where Family Eldercare offers Service Coordination.
Bessie is a dynamic and outgoing woman so it was no surprise that she was one of the first residents to volunteer for an in-depth assessment when Service Coordination was first offered at her apartment complex. The assessment identified several needs including reinstatement of Medicaid benefits and help organizing and paying bills. A Family Eldercare Service Coordinator helped her manage her bills, reapply for Medicaid, and apply for food stamps.
Once all of Bessie’s basic needs were met she began to focus on her social life. She quickly became a regular participant in a variety of arts and crafts classes offered at her apartment complex through the Aging In Place Initiative and will soon begin volunteering at a local hospital. She also calls in to participate in many of our social activities over the phone through the Lifetime Connections Without Walls Program. Her favorite LCWW session each week is the writing course.
Jim, a 30 year retired US Army Colonel, had overseen his own finances for many years, but Jim’s son began suspecting that his father was being exploited. Family Eldercare’s Money Management Program effectively stepped in to ensure that Jim continued to age in place, in his own home.
Jim grew up in California and attended Berkeley on a military scholarship. After 30 rewarding years of service, he retired from the US Army as a Colonel. He traveled the globe during his military career, then decided to try Austin on for size and started a real estate company.
During this period, he also set time aside for family and is the proud father of four children, one son in the Austin area and three who now live on the west coast. Earlier this year, Jim’s son called Family Eldercare because he was concerned that his father’s dementia was progressing and that he was being taken advantage of financially. He arranged an appointment to learn more about the services we provide.
“They told me what was offered so I could pick what was needed. That’s how I got started with Lisa, she can do virtually anything,” Jim said.
Below, Jim shares more about how Lisa, one of Family Eldercare’s Care Attendants, has impacted his life in just seven months with companionship, light cleaning, organization and money management services.
“Lisa does a number of different things. My business filing system had gotten badly into disarray, and we worked together on that, getting things in order. Where I fell short, I wasn’t doing the planning and budgeting. [With Lisa’s help], I got back where I could operate on a budget and track it. She has made a quantum leap forward as far as my tax and business organization is concerned… and she has been very good at keeping my bachelor housekeeping under control. Having trust and confidence in the person who is helping you is critical. You have to work with a person with whom you can share. I feel very fortunate to have met Lisa and I feel we have become friends as well. And she is not only good at what she does, but she has a great positive attitude, very up-beat. Family Eldercare, in a multitude of ways, has made a very positive impact in helping me work and live more efficiently, freeing up time for the enjoyable things in life.”
Ray and Marlyn grew up three houses apart in their hometown of Bennington, Vermont. Sparks flew in 1945 when Ray returned from war and finally noticed that Marlyn was all grown up, though he jokes, “she had her eyes on me.” In July of 1948 they were married and celebrated their 63rd anniversary in 2013.
Ray was a career military man, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force, and Marlyn worked hard at home, raising their three wonderful children. As the children migrated to Texas for work, Ray and Marlyn followed and called Austin their home ever since. In 1990, Marlyn became ill and Ray took on the role of caregiver. Last year, she was hospitalized with a collapsed lung, and spent several months in a rehab facility where Ray visited faithfully three to four times each day. It wasn’t home though and Ray could see Marlyn was improving, but wasn’t thriving. He said that she was
“always looking at the door, she was so lonely.”
Ray decided it was time to bring her home, but he would need help. After encouragement from his son, Ray contacted Family Eldercare for assistance. Belle and Ivy, two of Family Eldercare’s Care Attendants, came to help care for Marlyn, alternating three days per week.
“You have two jewels there,”
Ray brags about the Care Attendants. While the Care Attendant cares for Marlyn, Ray has a break from laundry, meal preparation, housekeeping, bathing and personal care; he has time to enjoy simply being with Marlyn. After receiving care in the comfort of her home, Marlyn’s health improved. “I was so happy to be home,” Marlyn said. She is grateful to have such a loving husband and the support of Family Eldercare so that she is able to enjoy a better quality of life. “He’s a good man,” she says, referring to how her husband cares for her and dotes on her, but having Belle and Ivy