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Nothing Lost, Only Gained



Often times when families and residents come to our door, they are focused on what they are losing by moving into assisted living. However, within a few hours, days or weeks, the focus shifts into a wonderful awareness, and eventually a deep appreciation of, all that is gained when someone becomes part of our community.

From the moment you enter Carillon Assisted Living into a comfortable and gracious, homelike place filled with smiles and hugs, you begin to get a sense of the special place so many people call home. But even though the flowers are beautiful and the décor lovely, the greatest treasures are found each day in our team who care for our residents in a way that many families never imagine possible. This loving, special and personalized attention transforms a difficult decision into an amazing lifestyle that gives people a newly energized time in their lives, at the very point that they fear life is over.

Mr. Bob Rush and his family learned after his first night, that Bob was in the care of some very special people at Carillon Assisted Living of Salisbury.

Karen Young, Bob’s niece and family member who had assumed responsibility for helping Bob’s wife care for him, writes:

“In the late stage of his battle with dementia, Bob needed assisted living care. Thankfully, we found Carillon in Salisbury. The morning after his first night’s stay at Carillon, I called to see how Bob was doing. The staff member assured me that he was doing just fine. She said she’d tucked him into the bed the night before and kissed on the cheek good night. I knew then that Bob had found a home and our prayers had been answered.

During his first week at Carillon, the staff noticed that Bob was following their maintenance man, Chuck, from room to room, as he worked. Finally, Bob tapped him on the arm and said: “Hey, I’m in charge here – what are you doing?” That was Bob.

Family members were frequent visitors at Carillon, and the staff always made us feel at home there. I remember a group of cousins and aunts gathered to visit with Bob about a year ago. When I went to Bob’s room to tell him that his wife Pat was here, he jumped up and said, “It’s a great day.. a really great day.” I can still picture Bob and Pat, sitting on the sofa holding hands and smiling while we visited. Bob was in great spirits, happy to be entertaining the group of women by showing us his boxing pose and cutting up.

A big part of the Carillon miracle was Wanda, Bob’s caregiver, who had very special relationship with him. She was like a daughter to Bob. He loved and trusted her. Wanda earned Pat’s nickname—“Wanda the Wonderful.” Wanda always accompanied Bob, when he took field trips to the nearby transportation museum, to the parade twice (which he loved), and going out to restaurants to eat lunch. Wanda went with Bob to his doctors’ appointments and trips to the hospital. She learned that Bob loved to sing –particularly his favorite tune, “You Are My Sunshine.” To calm Bob down during his doctor visits, Wanda would ask if she could sing his favorite tune. She cautioned the staff that she couldn’t sing worth “diddley squat,” but she’d do whatever was needed to keep Bob happy.

During one of Bob’s appointments for minor surgery, Wanda started singing. Then, two nurses and Dr. Star joined in. Bob said, “Sing louder” – and they did. One of the nurses later told me that she looked up to and saw Bob, grinning broadly. Then, Bob started singing too. The nurse said she had to choke back the tears, as Bob sang “You Are My Sunshine” and “Jesus Loves Me.

Wanda, we will be forever grateful for the care and love you gave Bob and the support you provided us. We knew he was in good hands with you in charge. You’re a welcome addition to our family. And, we’re grateful to all of the Carillon staff for their kindness and love for “Mr. Bob.” You made many silver linings possible during this stage of Bob’s journey. Thank you, all.”

What a wonderful and full life Bob, and so many others just like him, experience at Carillon Assisted Living everyday. Pushing through a difficult decision or time of change often leads us into our greatest blessings ever! Each of our Carillon communities has a “Wanda the Wonderful” or “Chuck the Maintenance Man” making new friendships and memories with residents everyday.

— Wendy Livengood, executive director
Carillon Assisted Living of Salisbury

Posted in Alzheimer's and Dementia Care, Resources, Sage Stories on October 11, 2013

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