“You find a way,” says John, Lakeland Care member since 2011. “If you’re knocked down, you need to get up, and get up again.”
And John should know. After hospital and nursing home stays, he was determined to come home to Judy, his wife of 52 years, and the house they had built together in the rural Malone area.
Yet John, age 75, realized he needed extra support to return home and continue managing his diabetes and other medical issues. As always, Judy was right there to help, but she had health concerns of her own. That’s when John and Judy discovered the Lakeland Care District and its Family Care program.
After his enrollment in Lakeland Care, John and Judy collaborated closely with his own care team and the nursing home where he was staying for rehabilitation. Together, they determined what support and services he needed to safely return home.
The result? Rather than moving permanently to the nursing home, John could – and did – go home again. Thanks to Lakeland Care, John’s own self-reliance and Judy’s devotion.
One key part of his service plan recognized that John’s physical condition now required a mechanical lift to help him make transfers and move about his home. So his Lakeland Care team made arrangements for a “Sit to Stand” lift. This equipment supports John in moving back and forth from his bed to his power chair to his lift chair in the living room to the bathroom and so on.
The next step in making John’s home livable was to widen the door to the bathroom, so that he could enter in his power chair. Now he can use a ceiling lift mechanism to get into his specially-sized bath tub. Before the bathroom modifications, John could not bathe on a regular basis. A sponge bath was his only option – and it was impossible to keep his skin thoroughly clean and safe. This affected his health, leading to “breakdowns” or raw areas in the skin.
Now, thanks to the modifications, John can take a full bath three times a week, with a little assistance. Assistance with bathing and other personal care routines comes through a home care agency in Lakeland Care’s provider network. Without this help, it would be difficult for John to remain at home – it would be virtually impossible for Judy to help John with these tasks, given her own health issues.
John appreciates that Lakeland Care has been able to arrange for local help from an agency caregiver who lives just a mile away, “Being out in the country, it’s difficult to find help,” he says. “But Lakeland Care has made sure that we could get the help we need. My personal care worker always has a smile on her face and is very positive.”
John also benefits from the involvement of his Lakeland Care nurse, Jenna, in monitoring his skin breakdowns and making sure he’s getting the proper care. Due to his physical condition, John is most always sitting during his waking hours at home – whether in his power chair or his lift chair. This can result in pressure ulcers, open areas and other skin breakdowns.
Lakeland Care has set up weekly nurse visits to assess and treat the breakdowns as well as reinforce diabetic education. In addition, John has specialized pressure-relieving cushion for chairs, and Jenna has provided various adaptations to help aid in pressure relief and prevention of skin breakdowns.
The care team also assists John and Judy in finding resources for other help they need. For example, Jenna, the team nurse, identified a local podiatrist, or foot doctor, from Lakeland Care’s provider network to fit John with shoes specially designed for people with diabetes.
Dedicated wife Judy continues her support to John on so many levels, such as assistance with toileting during the times when the care worker isn’t present.
Again, all this help from Lakeland Care helps John stay in the familiar surroundings of a lifetime – he was born just two farms up. He and Judy have made their home here, raised four daughters, and now delight in their seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Their beloved dog, Prince, also adds a lot of happiness to the household.
John is used to doing things for himself and continues to run the show. This comes from his 35 years at the Alto Dairy Cooperative in nearby Waupun where he worked as a maintenance electrician and later the plant engineer. An Air Force veteran, John takes pride in a job well done. When he was an aircraft mechanic at a base in the Pacific, the President visited to personally present his unit with the “fly safe” award for 300,000 hours with no accidents.
While Lakeland Care provides certain support and services, John handles a lot of his own personal routines, such as grooming, meal preparation (with Judy!) and mobility using his power chair. He keeps track of his medications and takes them on a regular schedule to maintain his physical health. John also likes to coordinate his own health care. With diabetes, he checks his blood sugars daily and contacts his doctor with any concerns.
“I know I can call my Lakeland Care team with any questions,” says John. “I hear back within a day or less – Jenna and Angie are great! If there’s something we can’t handle, I can call them to solve problems.
“You want to join Lakeland Care if you want to come back to your own home,” says John. “Without the help of Lakeland Care, I would not have been able to come home again.”