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Stories

A Caregiver’s Story:

Stephanie & Kate, daughter & mother, find a way home with LifePath

“It's a hard thing to say, ‘You know what? Maybe it's a rest home or maybe it's a different kind of living for you. Maybe it's an assisted living because I'm not going to be able to do all this.’”

Stephanie George found herself faced with a difficult and unfamiliar situation. Her mother, Kate, had a health crisis that put her in intensive care, hospital rooms, and rehab. Even though Stephanie lived nearby to her mother’s small apartment, she wasn’t sure how to support her mother’s wish to return home.

“I felt often really alone,” says Stephanie.

Shortly after Kate’s hospitalization, Stephanie heard from Therese Fitzsimmons, a case manager at LifePath. Therese had been working with Kate before her illness, when Kate had reached out to LifePath for assistance with Medicare counseling through the SHINE program. “Therese had arranged a little bit of in-home personal care assistance work for my mom,” says Stephanie, “some basic services to keep her fit and healthy, a sort of wellness regimen.”

At the time, says Therese, “Kate was pretty independent, so she didn't necessarily need day-to-day help from Stephanie and Stephanie's family.”

When the turn in Kate’s health came, Therese worked with Kate and Stephanie to determine what Kate’s needs were now and arrange additional services. Stephanie knew her mom, a self-described feminist who values her independence, had strong thoughts and ideas about how she wanted to spend her elder years. “Therese has always worked to try and facilitate that reality for my mom and, in my opinion, always worked to do what was the best thing on behalf of her.”

Dec 2016 Stephanie and Kate photoKate and Stephanie look over some family photos. "My children are my greatest joy," says Kate. "My grandchildren are even the most special. I have four grandchildren and three children." Kate's daughter, Stephanie, has taken on the role of a family caregiver and is happy to be able to help honor her mother's wish to remain living in her own home with assistance from LifePath.Stephanie is happy now knowing that her mother is safe and has what she needs. She and her mom have become closer since Kate's illness, and they get together on the weekends to have dinner as a family or run errands together. “My children have been wonderful to me, especially as I get older,” says Kate. “They don't interfere with me or treat me as though there's something wrong with me because I'm old.”

"I do think our relationship might have been different if we weren't lucky enough to live where we have those connections,” says Stephanie. “It could have been a very different outcome, and that would have been debilitating for my mother. I think she's lived the couple of years since then a much richer life than she would have if we hadn't kind of found our way through all of those roadblocks to independence."

If you or a loved one are facing a challenge and could use a hand from LifePath, please reach out. We can listen to your needs and work together to navigate your options.