We fell in love and got married. Circumstances later led to the legal end of our marriage, but as it turns out, not to the end of our love. Ann and I resumed living together some 17 years after our divorce.
Ann eventually suffered many serious health setbacks, leading to hospitalization and several months in a skilled nursing facility. She required significant physical assistance in many areas. She had lost weight and was declining. I wanted to bring Ann home to stabilize and slow down the progression of her decline. I did some online research and learned about Adult Family Care (AFC.) I felt I could care for her at home with the support of AFC and hospice services. I was right.
This situation presented some challenges, but the AFC RN, Nancy and AFC Case Manager, Shawna, met them well. How to elicit feedback from someone who is non-verbal? It was clear that Ann could understand what was being said to her. The AFC RN looked Ann in the eye and said, “Squeeze my hand if your goal is to go home with Michael.” And squeeze she did, turning to face me with a smile.
Ann returned home and became an AFC consumer the following day. I created a home environment exceptionally suited to Ann’s physical and mental/emotional needs. This included a large television screen that could be used for Ann to Skype with her out-of-town daughters. A week after she was home with me, Shawna asked Ann if she was happy to be home. Ann’s smile lit up the room!
As the weather improved, I was able to get Ann outside for porch-sitting, car rides, and ice cream outings. I invited extended family to visit Ann on weekends. My nurturing included providing Ann with colored pencils, paints, and water colors. Ann resumed her work as an artist, signing her impressive creations. Six months after coming home, Ann was surpassing everyone’s expectations, thriving in my loving care.
I am so grateful to this very day for the support of AFC program and the AFC team that allowed me to care for my beloved Ann in the comfort of our home.”