Marion

Visiting Marion at her home in a leafy Menasha neighborhood is a clue to her humor and a few of her favorite things.

 

Just inside the front door is a larger-than-life statue of a man, dressed in fun, outlandish garb and greeting all who enter. Friendly Yogi, Marion’s tabby, ambles in to check out the guests, while shy Reggie White, her other cat, hides out in the back bedroom.

 

Pictures of all types and sizes of dogs line the walls of her apartment, sharing the space companionably with the real life pets. Marion looks up with a smile from her chair, where she’s working on one of the many crossword puzzles and word games she keeps in a stack beside her.

 

Marion, age 61, has been settled in her own home in this senior apartment complex for over a decade. Due to the many medical issues affecting her ability to get around, she really values her comfortable home life. Yet last year, she was at risk of being asked to leave. Why?

 

Marion was having trouble keeping her apartment and her clothing clean and fresh to the landlord’s – and her own – standards. Also, her health needs were changing, and she wanted to be able to come back home after a hospital stay and rehabilitation at a nursing home.

 

So Marion turned to the people she knew she could count on for help – her brother, Marty (“He’s my best friend,” she says), and her care team, Sherri and Tracy, from the Lakeland Care District.

 

All together, they devised the services Marion needed to continue living in her own home, with attention to safety and health. For instance, one solution was to set up a small washing machine in her dining area, hooked up to the kitchen faucet. This reduced the number of trips to the apartment complex’s laundry, and Marion is able to wash clothes on a daily basis. Marty helped come up with this idea as well as helping out with costs.

 

Lakeland Care also ramped up existing services, due to Marion’s changing medical conditions. She struggles with sleep apnea and a host of other health issues that affect her breathing, energy levels, sleep patterns and mobility. A few examples include:

 

  • Transportation to more frequent medical and therapy appointments.
  • Visits from a care aide three days a week, so Marion has help taking a bath, carrying out her personal hygiene routine, and cleaning her apartment. The care worker also run errands, particularly during the winter when it’s difficult for Marion to get around on her scooter.
  • Repairs for Marion’s scooter in a timely manner, since this medical scooter is how she gets around in her home and out in the community.
  • A personal emergency response device for Marion, in case she falls and needs to summon help quickly. In the past, she would have to try crawling to the phone if she fell.
  • A hospital bed to replace Marion’s regular bed, which allows her to elevate her head. This bed, coupled with an oxygen supply arranged by Lakeland Care, helps Marion breathe easier and sleep through the night.
  • Help locating health and long-term care resources in her community. Recently, Marion was looking for a new dentist, and the care team provided a list of local dentists. Marion selected a dentist from that list, made her own appointment and asked Lakeland Care to set up transportation.Long-time family friend, Vicky, continues to help out Marion. She runs errands, comes to see Marion at least a couple of days a week, and assists sometimes with the laundry. Vicky also entertains Marion with tales of her own two dogs, who’ve gotten their nicknames thanks to Marion’s quick wit.In fact, now that Marion is feeling better and doing more, she’s considering volunteering at the local animal shelter. Her affection for animals is evident, and she likes to keep busy.Marty, Marion’s only family member, lives back east, so the long distance could have been a challenge. Yet it wasn’t, thanks to everyone’s commitment to communicate as often as needed – by phone calls, by email, by letters. Marion looks forward to Marty’s visits – another incentive to get everything in order to welcome her favorite guest.They talk all the time, too. If her brother hears any concerns, Marty will contact the team with questions or requests for more information.

 

Long-time family friend, Vicky, continues to help out Marion. She runs errands, comes to see Marion at least a couple of days a week, and assists sometimes with the laundry. Vicky also entertains Marion with tales of her own two dogs, who’ve gotten their nicknames thanks to Marion’s quick wit.

 

In fact, now that Marion is feeling better and doing more, she’s considering volunteering at the local animal shelter. Her affection for animals is evident, and she likes to keep busy.

 

Marty, Marion’s only family member, lives back east, so the long distance could have been a challenge. Yet it wasn’t, thanks to everyone’s commitment to communicate as often as needed – by phone calls, by email, by letters. Marion looks forward to Marty’s visits – another incentive to get everything in order to welcome her favorite guest.

 

They talk all the time, too. If her brother hears any concerns, Marty will contact the team with questions or requests for more information.

 

As Marty says, “I truly appreciate Lakeland’s commitment to Marion’s care. It was getting exceedingly difficult to remotely attend to her needs before you came on board. Since then, your team has orchestrated a program that’s helped her immensely.

 

“As you know, Marion likes to ‘talk it up’ when opinion strikes, and your crew is eager to engage her in conversation.   The personal touch really helps…she enjoys it.

 

“Marion’s life has definitely improved. Thanks, Lakeland!”

 

Marion agrees: “I’m surrounded by a bunch of good people, especially the team. They have bent over backwards to get things done. I almost got kicked out of my apartment if not for these two ladies and my brother.”

 

Sherri, the care manager from Lakeland Care, points out that Marion must give herself credit. “You keep up your apartment really well,” says Sherri. “We have a good working relationship with you and feel we can be honest with you. And, there’s a lot of humor in this relationship.”

 

Marion laughs and says she always likes to “harass” the care team during their visits. They all agree it’s good to keep things light-hearted, since this helps when dealing with serious issues.

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