In a small neighborhood of older homes, where everyone took pride in their yards and grew gardens, lived Anne*. She was 80 years old, and her lawn and garden were full of her love of flowers. She would tie her hair back and put on an apron. She had all the tools of the trade, shovels, rakes, hand tools, a planting bench, and she would pick up beautiful pots from garage sales and thrift shops. She and her friends would share plant clippings and talk about how to grow each thing with success. Her knowledge was endless, and she was happy to share it, but she wasn’t the type of person to push her passion on others. If you were interested and asked her then she would answer your question as concisely as possible, and you could tell she was watching to see if you would like a further explanation. Her eyes would light up when you would ask a further question. Sadly, she was having more and more mobility issues and gardening was becoming more difficult even with the new tools that her family would buy her as gifts to try to make it easier for her.

One day, she was working in her garden when she tripped over a hose and fell. She had her cell phone on her, so she called her son, and he called the ambulance while en route to her. He met her at the hospital. She had a broken hip and was being admitted to the hospital. The first thing she told her son was what he needed to do to save the plants she was potting. When her son, Jonathan, reached out to us, he was very concerned about how to manage her care needs and make sure that she was getting the right care. We had met with Anne and her son and daughter a few months prior when they wanted to make sure that they had all their documents and affairs in order. We helped them organize everything and work with an attorney to prepare advance directives and all documents needed to make decisions in line with her wishes for care.

We met them at the hospital and helped get Anne settled into her room and then outlined a plan of action with her and Jonathan. After a home review, we had discussed some home modifications with them, and they hadn’t completed the changes so that would be a primary focus for Jonathan. We talked about a trusted contractor who could help with bathroom modifications and adding a ramp to the front door. He would call them in the morning and get things escalated.

Over the next few days there was surgery and some hospital recovery then it was time to move to a rehabilitation facility for her to heal and work on physical therapy. We visited her daily during this time to make sure that her pain was properly managed and to advocate on a few issues surrounding her diet and a noisy neighbor who made it hard to sleep at night. We also support Jonathan’s effort to prepare her home for her return.

We attended the progress meetings and discussed options with the care team. Medicare has specific requirements for the process of hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation that we can manage and make sure that she meets the milestones they require and also advocate when there are setbacks.

Once she was able to return home, we were able to have an engagement specialist visit her in her home once a week and help work on her flowers. She couldn’t plant them by herself, but we set up a planting bench and chair in a way that she could still participate. The engagement specialist was a gardening enthusiast, so she was happy to assist Anne with her planting and commented to the rest of us that she was learning a lot from her time with Anne.

Anne regained strength and was able to do more and more on her lawn again and after about one year she was back to her daily garden activity. Several safety items had been set up to make it safer for her, but she was able to return to her joy. We visited once a week to discuss changes needed to her home setup and her other medical conditions. Her memory was sharp as a tack, and we enjoyed our visits with her.

If you find yourself unsure about plans for care for yourself or an aging family member or need help figuring out the best way to age in place, please reach out to us, today, to discuss options. We can consult on any level of questions, whether it’s just one or two questions, all the way to full care management, we are happy and willing to work with you. Call us at 803-215-1019 or email us at info@longtermliaisons.com.

*In order to protect the privacy of our clients, our stories depicting clients are often a conglomeration of the stories of more than one client.