When my father ended up staying in a hospital last winter with pneumonia for the first time in his 93 years I never thought we'd consider that a lucky break.
Now at the age of 94 my dad Ambrose and my 93-year-old mom Margaret look back on his hospital stay as just that - a lucky break.
Lucky, not only because of the great care he received by nurses, doctors and rehab workers but because at the Welland Hospital that we learned about the March of Dimes pilot project to support seniors who wanted to continue to live at home.
My mother and father have made it clear to their five sons that they want to live and when the time comes - die at home. They don't want to go to a nursing home.
They live in the same 3-storey home they purchased back in 1951.
Their home has been updated and changed to fit the needs of seniors.
They now live exclusively on the first floor. Their bedroom at the back of the house is next to the kitchen and the washroom. Safety bars are strategically located in the bedroom, the kitchen, the washroom and at the front door.
I'm retired now and stay at my parents' home 4.5 days of the week (Monday-Friday afternoon). My brothers in Port Colborne, St. Catharines, Welland, and Fonthill see them on the weekend when I return home to be with my wife in Burlington.
My mother has a mild case of Alzheimer's which will only get worse. She requires the most support. It is a huge relief to know that a March of Dimes worker is there every day to ensure that she takes her morning and evening medication from her blister pack, and gets her eye drops three times a day to prevent glaucoma.
Every day a March of Dimes worker rubs a medical cream where Mom developed sores which ensured that the sores go away and stay away. The March of Dimes workers put my mom's hearing aids in, and take them out at the end of the day. They also wash bedding and put on new sheets when necessary, give my mom a weekly bath, empty garbage pails, and check to ensure that the stove elements are turned off.
Knowing that March of Dimes workers check in on my parents 7 days a week up to three times a day is incredibly helpful to them, my brothers, and myself.
It means that I can leave them at home while I go grocery shopping, work out at the Y, go to the library, or simply go out for a coffee. In short it means my brothers and I can support our parents in their desire to stay in their home without being their 24 hours a day.
The support of the March of Dimes workers is incredibly important to my parents, my brothers, and I. We're so thankful for the care offered by the entire team of March of Dimes workers. Without them it would not be possible for my parents to continue to live at home.