“When a Peach is really a Gem”

Every so often a particularly challenging case comes to Priority Home Care for staffing. One such client was Mrs. S. An Italian old school ball of energy, at 89 years old and 110lbs soaking wet she maintains all the vibrancy and energy of her youth. While all that energy at her age is a blessing, it is also a challenge. Mrs. S. is dressed and raring to go when our home health aide Peaches Smith arrives at 9am. Mrs. S. loves walking (and does so at a very rapid pace). She loves being outdoors and enjoying the fresh air and is not deterred by extreme temperatures whether too hot or too cold, by the same token neither rain nor snow can slow her down one bit. Despite Mrs. S’s caregiver being decades younger than her, keeping up with her pace is no easy feat, with Mrs. S. occasionally running ahead.

The patient’s daughter was a picture of frustration; a kind, generous woman who in addition to caring for her own family has been doing everything to ensure that her mother is well cared for and safe. While old age may not have physically slowed down Mrs. S, her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s places her at risk and causes her daughter endless worry. In the past with other caregivers, Mrs. S. would enter a department store, sneak away from her caregiver and put her coat on inside out in an attempt to disguise herself and leave the store independently. Her desire to remain independent and untethered by a caregiver drove her to exceptionally clever ruses.

After several conversations with the patient’s daughter it became apparent that one of her primary concerns was for her Mother’s safety, as she walked an average of 3 hours daily. The fact that Peaches Smith was able to not only keep up with her but make her feel comfortable enough that she became a source of companionship, was an achievement that no one saw coming. The tremendous sense of relief that the patient’s daughter has expressed since having our aide caring for her mother is beyond measure and a testament to the comfort that an excellent aide brings, not only to the client but also to the client’s family members. The praise that the patient’s daughter has for Peaches is continuous and the gratitude is beyond measure. She recently shared with me an instance in which Peaches had cooked up “a delicious, mouthwatering meal” so she informed her mother “that only wealthy people have someone cooking such elaborate meals for them” and that “she should thank Peaches for making such a lovely dinner for her”. This resonated with the patient who not only thanked Peaches but also told her that she loves her and asked if she could give her a hug. These moments of breathtaking humanity are what home care is all about.

Peaches Smith very rarely asks for time off, is always on time, never complains and goes above and beyond in her care for her patient. During a memorable conversation with the patient’s daughter, in which she was praising Peaches to no end, I joked that “Peaches truly is a peach”. The client’s daughter responded “she is more than a peach, she’s a gem”….