At the age of 88, Mrs. Gabon (name changed) called me herself. She responded to an ad she read in the paper. As we sat at her kitchen table, she expressed her hope that maybe this option would help her stay in her home.
She lived in Fort Gary close to the university. Her hardwood floors glistened in her modest 3-bedroom home. Her piano took a prominent spot in the living room. Mrs. Gabon had been a schoolteacher for many, many years. She was sharp as a whip and didn’t weigh more than 100 pounds. However, the effect of progressing osteoporosis was affecting her mobility. Getting out and moving around was difficult, but she hated the thought of needing to move.
Mrs. Gabon was not only sharp, she was thrifty. On my first visit to her, while sitting at her kitchen table, we determined if she engaged our services for a caregiver to come three times a week for three hours each visit, she would be able to stay in her home. Within those nine critical hours, the caregiver would take care of all her grocery shopping, take her to appointments, cook meals and ensure she had leftovers in the fridge for the off days, clean her house in general, do her laundry, sort and organize her closets, and anything else Mrs. Gabon wished.
The tasks we were hired to do soon turned into a beautiful friendship between Mrs. Gabon and Janice, my caregiver. They did so many things together that were simply not on the list! She took her clothes shopping as all the clothes she has were too big. She was rolling down the waist just so her pants wouldn’t fall off! She ended up buying 4 beautiful outfits. They went to a u-pick farm to pick Saskatoons one day. Once they got home, they froze the juicy berries into small portions. Janice planted the front flower bed with Hostas and Lilly of the Valley. A garden hadn’t been planted in 12 years. Each of these activities brought such joy to Mrs. Gabon!
Here are some notable notes from the doc log: “Miss Betsy is aware that I marked down an extra 1½ hours for the day we went to the doctor. She was okay with it as she didn’t want anyone to think that she is a ‘skin flint.’ Her words.” “If you have time a game of scrabble will always rouse her interest; be prepared for a lesson in English along the way!” “I took her out to the gardening centre. She picked out a lovely hanging basket for her front entrance, very nice. t sure puts a smile on her face every time she opens the door.”
Janice shared some memories with me just the other day. I remember when…
- she felt the need to swear, she would say, “Cradle!” I still use that to this day. More ladylike than actual swearing!
- she couldn’t lift the kettle anymore for tea, I suggested a water cooler that had hot water as well. Her daughter brought one over and she just loved it.
- she had to get hearing aids she wasn’t too pleased. She would say, “Oh, just a minute until I put on my elephant ears!” We would giggle together.
- they took her driver’s licence away, she decided she would get a scooter; not just one but two! She got one for indoors and one for outdoors!! She loved going out on a sunny day and speeding down the sidewalk on her new wheels! She could fly like lightning, and I’d have to run to keep up!
When my Client Care Coordinator stopped by for a spot check, they often sat and sang together as Mrs. Gabon played piano in her living room.
With our help Mrs. Gabon was able to stay in her home for more than five years longer! At the age of 95, she moved to a personal care home, where we provided overnight care for her as she neared the end. She passed away at the age of 96. Wherever she is, there’s likely a scrabble game going on!