No Place Like Home
Greta and John Merchant bought their Needham house over 60 years ago when they first moved to the United States. As they faced some of the health issues of aging, it was important to them to stay together in the comfort of their beloved home. They shared this sentiment with their daughter, Sandra and her husband Tom. It became a challenging proposition but one that Sandra and Tom were willing to navigate.
The notion of always living in your own home seems like it is easily doable until an unexpected illness or injury pops up. Greta and John faced the unexpected when on a Tuesday John was told he would be discharged from a rehab facility on Friday, but that her couldn’t live on his own with just Greta because of her early dementia and his physical challenges. Their very generous, loving daughter and son-in-law handled the initial need by moving in with Greta and John. However, managing her parents’ needs along with their own careers and family was too exhausting and stressful for Sandra and Tom to handle long term. Fortunately, Greta’s primary care doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization referred the family to Springwell’s onsite Community Resource Specialist. Sandra says that “the first time our Springwell case manager came to our house, I immediately felt comforted by her kindness and compassion.”
Since first connecting with Springwell, Greta and John’s needs have increased. Springwell’s team, including a case manager, a nurse and supervisors, works together to assess and problem-solve as changes in service become necessary.
Sandra is grateful for all the support provided by Springwell. They helped her get both of her parents enrolled in MassHealth which has made the assistance they need financially viable. Further, Springwell’s partnership with this family extends beyond day-to-day in-home care services. Springwell’s Elder Independence Fund helped to purchase and install a much-needed wheelchair ramp for the family, and the organization’s Caregiver Specialist helped Sandra identify and pursue groups that would provide support for her as a caregiver. As the family identifies new barriers, Springwell is there to problem-solve.
Sandra reflects that she and Tom had no idea the journey they were beginning when they first moved in with her parents. Keeping her parents at home is complicated but it is what they all want more than anything.The magic of being home together is beautifully summed up in Sandra’s story about her dad’s return home after a hospitalization: “…the first thing my dad asked for was to be wheeled to my mom’s bed, so he could see her. He held her hand and smiled. He looked like a young man in love with his bride.”
“It has been a journey filled with sadness, frustration, exhaustion, overwhelm, fear—and also, love, gratitude, family, grace, community and joy. Our family could not have done it without Springwell,” concludes Sandra. There’s no place like home and sometimes it takes a village to make home sweet home a safe and comfortable place.
Springwell is passionate about helping seniors and individuals with disabilities live at home with dignity and independence. For more information about how Springwell can help your family achieve its goals, contact Springwell’s Information and Consultation Department at 617-926-4100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.