In keeping with our Kind Regards series, we share an uplifting letter received by Regional Director of Operations Amy Jo Bellanger. The family recognizes the Optage and EagleCrest teams for their love and care of a resident who passed away several months ago.
Dear Amy Jo,
My father Peter was a resident at EagleCrest Arbor for two years. He passed away about six months ago. He was also a patient with Optage and Optage Hospice.
I wanted to let you know about the exceptional care and support my father received from the staff throughout his stay there and during his final days of life with Optage Hospice.
My dad's move from an assisted living facility in Denver, CO to the arbor was difficult for him. Transitioning from one living arrangement to a completely new place at 89 years old is hard, even for Peter who has survived many setbacks throughout his life. However, the caregivers did a great job helping him with the transition.
It was clear from the beginning that the staff works from a place of caring, Christian values and service to the residents, regardless of the challenges.
My dad was a storyteller, former executive and mechanical engineer. He was used to being in charge - he thought that the Arbor was just another work assignment for General Mills! He was a challenging resident, but also lively, interesting and engaging when he was feeling well.
The staff took time out of their full schedules and care load to:
- Get to know him and what was important to him: his business projects with Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis and General Mills
- Understand and listen to the details of his life story and memories of his family
- Listen to his stories - however long - even if they had heard them before
- Be helpful and understanding when he was frustrated about his memory and mobility
- Find and play special music for him
Nancy Henrikson and Julie Daine cared for his physical needs very well by suggesting certain cares, medication adjustments and living arrangements. Nancy's suggestion that it was a good time for hospice was perfect - something that I didn't have on my radar, but ultimately made my dad's last months better for him.
The exceptional care was most evident in his last week of life. He became ill on Sunday and I was able to spend many hours with him that week until he died. While I was with him, I was touched by the care and attention he received and special friendly goodbye visits from the caregivers.
There are many individuals I would like to especially thank for exceptional care and special attention to my dad. I know I am missing some, so my apologies for that in advance: Leslie, Alfreda, Evelyn, Valissa, Mary, Johanna, Justus, Jacinta, Mari, Nancy, Pastor Kurt, Julie, Jim, Emma, Chaplain Bitrus, Chaplain Jenny.
Everyone demonstrated their care and lived out their faith in many ways:
Thank you very much. This simple thank you seems like such a small gesture compared to the huge part your staff played in my dad's last months of life. I will remember those last days with my dad forever. You were all a huge part of that time for him and me. May God bless you and the work you continue to do to serve people with dementia and their families with faith and commitment.
- Kind and reassuring words to us during that last week, guiding us through what to expect
- Continuous checks and care while being cognizant of how much to be present
- A moving rendition of "How Great Thou Art" beautifully sung at his bedside
- A peaceful and beautiful bedside memorial service and procession of honor. Many staff shared fond memories and spoke about my dad in a kind, loving way. This brought to light a side of my dad I did not know; it was very comforting to hear
- Special hospice advice, healing words and prayers, guidance and reading materials that were delivered after hours during that awful polar vortex when it was -25 degrees outside and snowing
- Attendance at my dad's visitation and funeral - so kind and memorable especially during that cold weather, snow and bad roads
- As you are well aware with dementia, so many things are challenging for everyone involved, but the staff helped my dad and they also helped my family. I had the opportunity to have a few very special last days with my dad. Instead of worrying about his care, I could read to him, show him pictures, pray with him and play him music without being distracted and worried about his end of life needs and how to take care of him.
Kind Regards is a regular feature that shares the letters, hand written cards and emails we receive from those we serve. Beyond expressing appreciation, these letters remind us how important and needed our ministry is and inspire us to offer our best. All letters shared with permission.