If there’s a “secret” for turning a place of sadness and despair into a place of joy and love, it is found abundantly in the memory care unit of Willow Brook at Delaware Run.
That “secret” is alive in the compassionate care provided by nurses and aides, and it is made visible by the family members who visit regularly and bring gifts of the heart to their loved ones.
Their love is as simple as being there. It includes meal-time companionship, even feeding loved ones. They sit with them in the garden, take them for a walk or to doctors’ appointments. No wonder residents smile quickly when relatives arrive.
Just witness these stories. A wife travels 25 miles daily to be with her husband. One resident receives love from a remarkable team that includes three siblings and their spouses, a stepsister, a childhood friend and a former girlfriend. A husband faithfully visits his wife of more than 70 years. Another husband spoon-feeds his wife every lunch and dinner. An endless cadre of relatives bring love that serves, that affirms, that comforts.
This testimony still doesn’t reflect the full extent of love’s “secret.” You will find it in the remarkable support these family caregivers offer one another. When a new resident arrives, his/her loved one is surrounded by support from those who have been walking the path of losing a loved one day by day. These “veterans” understand the anxiety. Their concern eases the pain of this terrifying transition.
That kindness continues to grow, welcoming the newcomer into the fellowship of loved ones. Offers of help and counsel abound. Evidence of comradery flourishes. Spontaneous humor helps everyone to maintain sanity in challenging times.
Bill McCartney resides at Willow Brook at Delaware Run. His wife, Judy, lives in the memory care unit at on that campus.
And when a resident dies, the arms of fellowship grow stronger. This transition is faced, not in isolation, but in a circle of other. Even in the passing of one resident, this close friendship provides comforting solace and joyful confidence in memories that will never die.
Ultimately, this caregiver love is not a secret. That’s a misnomer, because it is not hidden like other secrets. It is visible every day in words and actions, hearts and souls of those who give generously of themselves to their needy loved ones – and to others traveling the same path.