In everything I have shown you that, by working hard, we must help the weak. In this way we remember the Lord Jesus’ words: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”Acts 20:35
My focus today is simple: a general “shout-out!” to all the good people who play the role of “caregiver,” and specifically those who work with and look after the elderly.
When my parents celebrated their 70th anniversary back in May they achieved “a benchmark fewer than 0.1 percent of married couples reach” (U.S. Census Bureau). However, a staggering 13.1% of the population is now 85 and older, a number my baby-boomer generation (1946-1964) will begin to swell in a little more than a decade.
The care my dad received over the past few years took the combined efforts of so many people that I can hardly wrap my head around the details. Beyond the good work of doctors, nurses, dentists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and more, his care taxed the resources of family, church friends, neighbors, home-care providers (like Ashely, who worked for us for a couple of years), Always Best Care (folk like Stephanie, Trina, Elizabeth, Paige), and finally Avendelle Assisted Living (more on them later) where dad had been a resident since April.
All of this undergirded and surrounded by the love and prayers and practical help offered by so many from the beautiful faith community at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. My mother’s friends, especially, good people like Loretta, Millie, Carolyn, Bob, Joe, Robin, Larry, Keith and Resi, the Stephen Ministry team and others who I should mention but fail to remember in this moment.
I can’t say enough about the excellent care dad received at Avendelle in Rolesville. There are many options when it comes to providing for the elderly – everything from bringing caregivers into the home to outpatient to a variety of residential environments offering a cascade of à-la-carte services.
But the options narrow very quickly as the level of need increases.
This is why, when it became impossible to meet dad’s needs at home, the model practiced at Avendelle was literally a godsend.
Dad was able to live in an adapted six-bed house, in a very nice residential neighborhood, benefitting from a caregiver ratio of two professionals (and often more) to just five or six clients.
Dad had his own private room and enjoyed community meals around the dinning room table. He also received all the help he needed for every small detail of his life, from medications to brushing his teeth to eating to moving around to bathing to the most complex and personal levels of care.
From the owners (Mo and Manley run three similar homes), to the site manager (Jay), to the daytime nighttime and weekend staff, the atmosphere is consistently caring, professional, positive, nurturing, and encouraging.
I 100% believe that the quality of any facility is enhanced when the owners and managers are deeply involved personally, and when they themselves lead by example, by being present and modeling the level of care and love and respect they expect from employees.
This is what we experienced at Avendelle. In consequence, dad was surrounded by everything necessary to live out his days in a positive environment, where care and respect and encouragement and professionalism are practiced 24-hours a day.
Rebekah and I are deeply grateful for everyone involved in this ongoing story. And I think the real point of this post, the “So what?” of it all, is the fact that it really does take a village.
And I – we – are so fortunate and blessed as to have a village this big, this generous, this faithful, this committed, this beautiful.
Here I am, giving this “SHOUT-OUT!” And love is the truth behind it all – DEREK