Last week, I had the pleasure of celebrating my oldest client’s birthday. She turned 99. We share the same name and she is often inspiration in my day to day work. She and her 94 year old sister live together, have never married and have no other family, other than each other and their community of 24 hour caregivers and me, I suppose, as they feel like family to me as well.
These two special ladies were referred by their trust officer who is also like family to them. The bank holds their attorney for property and they have been working together for many years. A few years ago the younger sister fell and broke her hip. It was at that time that I was asked to meet them and assist with their care needs. Until that time, they were completely independent, living on their own in the same two bedroom apartment where they have lived for over 60 years. They did their own shopping, cooking, laundry and cleaning. Every day Audrey would take the bus to Baycrest to visit her sister who was in rehabilitation post hip surgery. One day Audrey did not show up and I received a call from her worried younger sister. Long story short, finally at 9:00 pm at night after many calls to the police and various hospitals, we located Audrey at the emergency department. She had fallen when exiting her apartment building on her way to visit her sister, some 6 hours earlier. The ER department was about to send her home after giving her 30 stitches to repair a major laceration across her scalp and forehead. That same evening was the beginning of their accepting care in the home. It has been 2 ½ years now since that fateful day. They both remain mentally sharp and continue to make their own care decisions. They joke with me and ask me with a twinkling eye ‘if they still have their marbles’, which they do….
They are both doing well and are well looked after and are enjoying life.
Last week I joined them for birthday cake; they both share the same favorite, which is a black forest cake. This is the only dessert that they eat and only on their birthdays. Audrey’s words of advice to me was ‘eat well and take care of yourself’. Excellent advice but I don’t think I can live with only eating dessert twice a year!
Ask yourself: Are your clients living as well as they could/should be?