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Amy's Story: Celebrating Those Who Make A Difference

Posted May 10th, 2014 in Long-Term Care, Dementia

Amy's Story: Celebrating Those Who Make A Difference

If you are a caregiver in a Long-Term Care Home or Retirement Residence, or know a caregiver that works in the care community or cares for someone at home; please read and share this true story. 

Let’s celebrate those who make a difference every day.

Sometimes in a fleeting moment of pure compassion, we hold the power to change everything...

When Amy exhibited signs of an evolving memory loss, she eventually required long-term care. A child of the great depression and World War 2, she had lived a difficult life, surviving the loss of her spouse at an early age, and later the death of an adult child. In spite of the hardship, Amy soldiered on, remained optimistic, and was the first to welcome guests to her home, especially at mealtime (just throw another potato in the pot). She contributed to her community; in particular her church family.  

As her illness advanced, she was admitted to a local long-term care home, and with time her eyes grew distant, and her physical abilities began to wane. There was a compounded sense of loss for a mother, sister, and friend.

For here was a woman with a story, a rich and vivid past buried underneath the veil of advanced age and illness. Here was a living, loving, unique individual who contributed, and was loved.  How could anyone who did not know her history relate to Amy’s story?

During the final week of Amy’s life, her family stayed and provided an ever constant bedside vigil.

As word spread throughout the Long-Term Care home of Amy’s declining health there was a sudden, steady stream of caregivers who stopped at her bedside. Some visited in a quiet vigil, others gently touched her, spoke her name or held her hand. She was gently turned, massaged and cared for, in essence a sleeping beauty who would never open her eyes again.

As Amy drew her final breath, the staff joined the family and shared in the emotion. At that moment, there was the realization that Amy’s story hadn’t ended when she was admitted to Long-term care.  She had continued her story and impacted those who met her and cared for her daily.

As a final request the caregivers were asked if they could dress Amy in a pair of new pyjamas that had been purchased with the hopes of recovery. It was the family’s conviction that Amy would leave the home as she arrived, beautifully appointed and through the front door. The staff readily agreed.

It was a bitter winter morning, and the pink satin pyjamas that had been left in a parked car for several nights, were now quite frigid.

Several minutes passed and finally the caregivers returned to announce that Amy was ready. The family was not prepared for their final act of kindness.

The staff had taken the pyjamas to the laundry to warm them in the dryer so Amy would be wrapped in warmth, a final gesture of love and respect.

This genuine act of compassion is a testimony to the frontline staff who quietly provide care every day.

Please Share...

Please share this with a caregiver you wish to thank or recognize for their contributions. If you would like to share with our readers your positive experience in a long-term care or a retirement setting, or celebrate any caregiver working with the elderly, please send your story to ann@elderpilot.com.

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