Our Caregivers Offer Independence, Compassion

Our Caregivers Offer Independence, Compassion

December 4, 2017

Sally Everett was a prosecuting attorney in the 1980s and ’90s, taking on doctors, nurses, and other providers charged with Medicaid fraud. Her husband, Gordon Snider, was an internationally renowned pulmonologist.

Sally and Gordon met and fell in love after Sally was diagnosed in 1993, in her mid-50s, with a rare deficiency that made her susceptible to an inherited lung disease. Living with Alpha-1 COPD prompted Sally to volunteer to sit on a foundation board that raises money for research into the disease. Gordon was also on the panel. Not long after they met, they transitioned from being colleagues to partners building a life together.

Theirs was a romantic and trusting relationship, and it was complicated both by Sally’s condition and Gordon’s 2006 diagnosis of aggressive B-cell lymphoma. He also later suffered a stroke. Wanting to live in a community that would provide care, Sally and Gordon moved to Glenmeadow in 2006 to be closer to Sally’s children and grandchildren, as Gordon’s were already grown. Our caregivers began assisting Gordon through our Glenmeadow at Home program soon after they arrived.

Because our mission is to serve seniors, whether they live with us or near us, our Glenmeadow at Home program offers help for residents living on our campus and also around Greater Springfield. Services range from household chores and maintenance to errands and transportation to personal support and care management.

Gordon took advantage of the home care. Sally says our caregivers came in the mornings to help him exercise his muscles and get dressed and ready for the day. They returned in the evenings to help Gordon get ready for bed.

Three years ago, Gordon passed away, and Sally memorialized him in a book she wrote, called An Alpha-1 COPD love story, which raises money for the Alpha-1 Foundation and also describes Sally and Gordon’s life together, and the support she receives from the foundation—as well as Glenmeadow.

“It’s now five years since we first moved to Glenmeadow,” Sally says in the book, published in 2011. “The wonderful staff takes care of Gordon, our home, and, I must admit, they also take care of me. As a result, I’m freed up, both emotionally and physically… Glenmeadow is a vibrant community full of active, interesting, and caring people. At this point, I can’t think of any other place that I would rather live.”

Today, weakened by her illness and other new conditions that limit her independence, Sally receives more comprehensive support from our Glenmeadow at Home staff. A caregiver assists Sally for five hours each morning, helping her to shower, get dressed, cook her own meals, and keep house. In the evenings, the caregiver helps Sally take her medication and get ready for bed. “Before she goes, she gives me a dish of ice cream—chocolate chip has been a favorite lately, along with peppermint stick,” Sally says.

Sally also receives support through our new CareShare program for residents, which makes daytime assistance possible. This allows Sally to get to her weekly bridge game, sit out in our garden, and turn off the light after late evening reading. “It gives me the ability during the time when I don’t have an aide to do things around here that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do,” Sally says.

A resident of ours for 11 years now, Sally is not one to focus on her limitations. “I say to people, ‘It (life) is what it is,’” she says. “You can make yourself and everybody else miserable, or get on with it; this is my life.”

Sally keeps her attention on the positives in her life, such as the regular visits she receives from her children, and twice a year from her children and stepchildren. When the whole family gathers, our staff rearrange Sally’s porch and get the table set for a family dinner. “I’m so blessed that I’m here,” she says. “The staff is very caring. They get to almost be a part of your family, and I have the care I need.”

 

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