Since the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic, I have been reaching out to both my Providers and Receivers to offer support, help and answer any questions that my staff may have. On a recent call with one of my Providers I uncovered this incident. This is a true and an incredible accounting of the sincerity and devotion of our Providers. The names of the individuals involved have been changed to protect their identities.
Mary has worked with Seniors Helping Seniors Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton since early 2016. In the fall of 2017, she was matched with Don an early onset dementia Receiver in his 70’s. Mary began working with Don 3 times a week for 3 hours a day.
Mary provided companionship, made light lunches and gave much needed human interaction. They went for walks, trips to the pool, movies and for drives by the beach. They enjoyed each other’s company and were a good match. Don’s favorite activity was to go for a walk ending up getting a Dairy Queen ice cream cone. Eventually, Don’s condition deteriorated. He began to develop “sundowning” and became agitated and difficult to deal with during the late afternoon¬¬ time period.
It was decided for Don’s safety that he would be moved into a dementia facility. Don was subsequently transferred to 3 different dementia facilities as his condition worsened and his care needs increased.
Early in January, Mary went to visit Don one last time at his new dementia facility specializing in very advanced dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. She found Don in grave condition having stopped eating and drinking and totally bed-ridden. Mary began to speak to Don and was interrupted by an Aide to talk. By the time that they had finished talking, the Aide who was facing Don told Mary to turn around and look at Don.
In the middle of Don’s frail condition, he had recognized Mary’s voice and he shed a tear when he realized that Mary was present. Mary understood then what a profound and deep connection with Don she had made. He passed away within a week of that visit.
Mary’s connection with Don and her continued visits to see him demonstrates the type of deep and long-lasting bonds that develops between Providers and Receivers. We will never know what Don experienced that day, however the fact that Mary continued to visit demonstrates the connection that can develop. God bless you for your continued work with Seniors Helping Seniors of Ft Lauderdale and Boca Raton. You, Mary, are a gem and a reason for us to forge on!
Dr. Edmund Dunkel
Seniors Helping Seniors
Fort Lauderdale/Boca Raton