Home Health Care
"A Servant's Heart"

01. November 2010

There’s nothing better than an early morning ocean swim! But when it comes to rough water, it’s not good to go it alone. Fortunately, my swim pals are there for me.

We meet most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Sandra, Janis, Dudley and I trudge through the deep sand to the water’s edge off Coronado. After assessing the conditions, we head out, ducking under the rolling waves… breaking free into the open ocean!

But for a time, our foursome dwindled to three. You see, Dudley’s husband, “Rocky,” has Alzheimer’s disease. The forgetfulness and confusion started several years ago. Eventually, it was no longer safe for the former Navy pilot and trial attorney to be alone. Dudley was now at his side 24-7. The avid athlete put her morning swims on hold.

But constant care-giving, even for the love of your life can take a toll. “I became very short-tempered,” says Dudley. “My patience nearly ran out by 2 p.m. By sundown, I was pulling my hair out.”

Emotionally and physically drained, Dudley needed help. Through a neighbor, she met Margie, a licensed home health care provider. Dudley calls her an angel. “We clicked immediately,” says Dudley, of the woman who changed her life. “She’s like a sister to me.”

Margie is one of thousands of home health care providers being honored this November… the month designated by The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) to “honor care giving heroes who make a remarkable difference in the lives of patients and the families they serve.”

Margie is more than a hero to Dudley and her family. She’s more than a caregiver, too. She also brings love and compassion to a couple struggling to cope with a devastating, mind-robbing disease. Let’s face it, relating to a loved one whose mind isn’t always “in the moment” can run the gamut… from heartbreaking to hilarious! Together, Margie and Dudley laugh and cry their way through it.

And while Margie’s huge heart and homemade lumpia may fool you… make no mistake, this sweet, petite woman is a pit bull when it comes to protecting the elderly. She cares for her own parents and told me she “can’t stand to see kids dump their elderly parents” in a facility. She chooses in-home care because she wants to “bond” with her patients.

Margie’s creativity and innovation are responsible for Rocky and his neighbor (who also has Alzheimer’s) getting together every Tuesday for “movie day.” Turns out they’re both old war movie buffs. Together the guys and their caregivers have lunch on the base at North Island every Friday. Margie smiles broadly, “I’m happy with my life. I’m just glad I can help.”

As for Dudley? She now has time to run errands, go to the doctor and read the paper. But best of all… she’s back in the water. Good news for all her swim pals! “Because of Margie,” says Dudley, “I come home refreshed, and have the energy to take care of Rocky all night. We still go to sleep holding hands.”

As more Americans choose to remain in their homes while they age, finding the right type of at-home care for loved ones can be a challenge. Private duty home care provides a secure, quality, and affordable option for families.

Palomar Pomerado Home Care is the only hospital-based program in San Diego County. This is significant because the non-medical home care industry is not regulated therefore there is a wide range of quality service being provided. With Palomar Health Home Health and Supportive Home Care, patients can be confident that caregivers are thoroughly screened, background checked and competency tested.

Another important fact is the collaboration with the skilled home care services and other Palomar Health service lines.

To learn more about what types of services are offered, call Palomar Health Home Health and Supportive Home Care at: 800.525.3528 or visit the web site.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.