- Written by Lisa Middents, Development Coordinator
- Published: 28 December 2015
When Dee met Brian
When Dee first met Brian over 15 years ago, he was in his late 40s and almost never left his room. He was living with his caregivers and another adult with a disability, Katie. Dee answered an ad to volunteer a few hours a week caregiving for Katie. Dee invited Brian to hang out with them during her visits to see Katie and soon she got them both laughing, dancing, and going with her on Sunday outings. “I loved working with Katie and Brian. It felt like it was the job I was supposed to be doing.”
Brian’s caregivers moved to Florida in 2001, and Brian needed a new home. Dee took the plunge and signed up to become Brian’s caregiver through our Adult Family Care (AFC) program. “I decided to try it for a month or two.”
A new family
Fourteen years later, Brian is still living with Dee. “Things fell into place. It was meant to be. It’s a 24-7 job, but we have such a good time together.”
AFC gives Dee the support she needs to care for Brian. “I’ve had a great experience with LifePath. They’re always a phone call away whenever I need to check on anything. They helped me with what to expect when Brian got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago.”
Living with Dee, Brian got to experience many wonderful things. Doctors told Brian’s family that he would never learn to read or write. Dee wanted to try teaching him anyway. Dee reports that “he learned his letters and how to write many words.” Brian loves music, singing, and dancing. His favorite musicians include Elvis and Britney Spears. Seven years ago, Dee took him to one of Spear’s concerts in Worcester. “He was scared at first of sitting in the bleachers, but we ended up having a great time. We toured her concert van.” Brian got a job working half days at IPB (Interface Precision Benchworks) in Orange doing piecework assembling electrical cables. He’s had a girlfriend, Gail, for the past seven years. He sees her often at Adult Day Health and when Gail’s caregiver goes on vacation.
They're your neighbors
If you live in Athol, you might see Dee, Brian, and a group of other adults with disabilities on one of their weekly Sunday outings. “We might go dancing at Club Singapore, to Friendly Town Pizza for lunch, shop at Walmart or tag sales, watch a movie together at my house. We have cake to celebrate our birthdays,” says Dee.
“This is the work I was meant to do. I am a giver and a helper.”
You can be a giver and a helper, too
Make a gift to support the independent living of elders, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers - people like Brian and Dee. Give today.