Last week I had a pleasure of attending the 100th birthday of one of my (favourite) clients. She is one of the lucky ones as she still lives in her own home and is able to afford 24/7 care. She has a wonderful care team who have been consistently providing care to her for over 4 years. They were initially providing a few hours a day and over the years, as her needs changed, they increased to 24/7.
I first met Audrey (yes that is her name) in 2015 after her younger sister fell and was admitted into hospital for hip surgery. I was referred to ‘the sisters’ by her long time trust officer who was handling their finances for them. She knew that the sisters could use some assistance and I was invited to meet them at the rehabilitation facility.
Audrey was 96 at the time and was fiercely independent. Neither used any mobility aids nor received any caregiving or housekeeping assistance. They did everything themselves. Neither had married and they had always lived together- looking after each other.
Since her sister’s fall, Audrey would take a taxi to visit her daily, who was then an in- patient at a rehabilitation facility. A few days after first meeting them, I received a call from her sister to tell me that Audrey had not shown up to visit her, as she had routinely done every afternoon since the fall. Long story short and several hours after receiving this concerned call, I was able to track Audrey who was at the emergency department of a nearby hospital. She had fallen on the slippery walk way outside her apartment building and lay there until a neighbour called 911.
The GEM (Geriatric Emergency Nurse) nurse told me that she had cut her forehead very badly and had received over 25 stitches. It was 9:00 pm and they were about to send her home in a taxi- alone. That very evening was the first time a caregiver started working with them, I arranged to have a PSW meet her at the ER and accompany her home and remain with her overnight.
It is now almost 5 years later, her younger sister has passed away and Audrey continues to live well in her own home. She wanted a tea to celebrate her birthday and together we ordered some new clothes, chose the foods she wanted to serve and the type of birthday cake and decided on the few guests who would be invited. I was able to arrange birthday greetings from the Queen as well as from our Governor General and from her local Longos where she had been a long time customer since they first opened their doors over 20 years ago. With her permission I am sharing her 100th birthday celebration photo. Ziggy was number # 1 on her guest list. Audrey is one of the lucky ones. With thanks to her very caring trust advisor, Audrey has been able to live the life she wanted- remaining in her own home and being well looked after.
Holly Ann Knott, QCSeptember 16, 2019 - 5:46 pm
Thanks for this heartwarming story, Audrey. You’ve described a common story line, but so far with a happier outcome than many.