According to Merck Manuals, 29% of America’s elderly population lives at home. Of that, roughly 60% report feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Elderly living alone can also experience underlying conditions, cognitive decline, sensory loss and undernutrition. These symptoms go unnoticed and untreated for longer than most who live in group environments.
Meet Faye Calahan-Williams.
Of those seniors living alone, 90% of them “express a keen desire to maintain their independence”. This is where home care comes in according to Faye Calahan-Williams, Homecare Coordinator at Lutheran Community Services Northwest in Tacoma.
“Sometimes it’s like God put you there just to be with them,” Faye said. “It’s like you were meant to be there for them.”
Faye has worked in home care for most of her life; it’s a family thing. Growing up in Arkansas, her mother cared for family members.
“It’s my calling,” she said. “When I make people happy, it makes my day.”
Over the years, Faye’s clients have included a woman whose hair she styled and a man who needed help running errands. There were clients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, mobility issues and terminal illnesses. There were also able-bodied seniors who needed a little extra assistance.
“We put our hearts into this work because our clients need it,” Faye said.
When a home care worker arrives at a client’s home, Faye says the first on their mind is, “what can I do for my client?” It goes from there to the basics:
- Has my client eaten today?
- Do they need me to cook something?
- Have they taken their medications?
Once those are answered and action is taken, the caregiver will bathe their clients, dress them, and ensure they are comfortable. Then it’s off to the rest of the house. They wash linens, make beds, do dishes, and take clients to appointments.
“We treat our clients as humans,” Faye says. “One day, I’m going to be old and I want to be treated the way we treat our clients.”
The goal is to treat those clients with respect and warmth. Learn more by contacting us at email@example.com or 253-722-5680.