Life is far too short. Nancy and I were reminded of that when we attended the wake of a long time client, Lois.
A self-aware woman, Lois would refer to herself as crotchety. She and her family had a great sense of humour about it too. We met Lois’ son Arnold at her wake and he thanked us for the services we provided his mom.
Arnold revealed that he and the rest of his family couldn’t get over the changes they saw in Lois’ demeanour once she accepted the CHSLC services. She first started receiving meals through our Meals on Wheels program 10 years ago and she wasn’t a happy camper. She would be the first to let us know if the meal was late, the salad not crisp enough or the soup wasn’t hot. At times it seemed there was no pleasing her. At this time, Lois was pretty independent. She had her own car and was an active member at the Legion.
Then, she found out she couldn’t drive – first her car, then her scooter. Lois became isolated. Her family tried to get her out for activities, but she refused.
Lois’ independence was taken away. All the years she spent as an independent person – simply driving to the store to get milk or socialize with friends, gone.
Nancy met with Lois to see if there was another CHSLC service that could benefit her. In her back pocket, Nancy had the idea to invite Lois to Thursday Diner’s Club. This weekly luncheon has been operating for over 25 years and it fosters socialization in people who might otherwise feel alone without their independence. Lois was a regular immediately! She was even able to attend our monthly dinner at Eastons Corners.
Over time, Lois started using our Home Help service. One of our valued Home Help workers, Joyce Kennedy, helped her with household chores and weekly shopping. Arnold said that one time he walked into Lois’ house to find her and Joyce hanging out on the couch chatting. Lois told her son that she had met a soul mate.
Lois’ health continued to decline. She had to move into a nursing home and she was not happy about it. However, the people she met through CHSLC helped her adjust to her new life. Kay (a luncheon volunteer), Dayl (a luncheon participant) and Joyce continued to visit Lois in her new home. Lois also received regular phone calls from other friends she met at the luncheon who weren’t able to meet her in person.
As a team, we did the best we could to provide care and companionship for Lois throughout her last years, months, days with us. Her family thanked us profusely for providing our services.