[ Editor’s note: Originally published in the Lynden Tribune ]
For Lynden senior Bernadette Millar, meeting with her caretaker Heidi Sorensen each week not only helps her with her everyday tasks, but provides a sense of companionship. Sometimes the two go shopping together, or Heidi helps Bernadette with her bills and appointments.
Bernadette has been meeting regularly with Heidi for three years now, after being connected to the in-home care service of Take My Hand of Lynden following a visit from her son and daughter-in-law. Those relatives made the initial connection to Take My Hand, and owner Sue Sorensen (Heidi’s mother-in-law) reached out to Bernadette directly.
“I didn’t call her — she called me,” Bernadette recalled. “It came right at the right time.”
Bernadette stopped being able to drive herself around a few years ago after a bad fall that resulted in nerve damage. She said the loss of the ability to drive a vehicle was devastating, but now being able to go to the places she needs to go and get out of her condo every once in a while with Heidi gives her something to look forward to.
The care service offers assistance to seniors with various tasks based on their needs, such as taking medication, scheduling appointments and going on errands. Or, as in Bernadette’s case, the client and caretaker will just go and enjoy coffee together.
“We do everything, from companionship to end-of-life care,” Sue Sorensen said.
For Bernadette, it’s a gift to be able to get out of the house with Heidi and know all of her appointments and bills are organized. Just as important, Sue points out, is having someone to laugh with. Sitting in Woods Coffee at Bender Plaza on a Friday outing, Bernadette and Heidi laugh together about Bernadette’s favorite saying, “Can’t be bothered.”
“I thought it was ‘think positively’?” Heidi asks.
“I’m always positive!” Bernadette says back, smiling.
This companionship from a caretaker can help to combat some of the isolation and loneliness experienced by many senior citizens, making it one of the most important aspects of the service offered by Take My Hand, Sue Sorensen said. Even just going on outings a couple of times a week gives clients something to look forward to.
“It’s a big deal for them, to get out of the house,” Sorensen said of the clients who are assisted by Take My Hand. “We all want to be independent, but we all need others in our lives.”
Take My Hand At-Home Care can be reached at 360-543-5777 and online at takemyhandathome.com.