In our last post, retired Brigham and Woman’s Hospital nurse Joy Oakes — now a home health aide and homemaker-companion for Best of Care — shared the ways she supports elderly clients in Quincy, Weymouth and Hingham, Massachusetts.
Always sensitive to their state of health and mind, Joy adapts how she supports each client’s daily activities while providing life-affirming companionship.
Humans need other humans. Sometimes all we really need is to see and interact with another person it’s in our nature, Joy believes. I help many clients feel less alone and less lonely.
For clients who are of sound mind but have chronic medical issues, Joy’s nursing background helps her pinpoint problems and advocate for higher-level support. One client, who had a compromised immune system and a growing infection, began falling frequently in his apartment. Joy worked with Best of Care’s social worker and care coordinator, filing paperwork with the local elder services agency to arrange for additional visit time before he was admitted to the hospital. After he leaves the hospital, we’re advocating for his move to a seniors apartment where he can get the kind of help he will need, Joy explains.
In addition to her home visits, Joy teaches CPR to her fellow Best of Care home health aides every few months in Raynham and Quincy: I enjoy this aspect of my job because it allows me meet Best of Care’s entire team of caregivers.
Joy balances her professional life with looking after her 90-year-old father a few evenings a week: I love my dad, and know how happy he is to remain in his own home. He is a wonderful guy, but if you don’t cook for him, he won’t eat! she laughs.
While it doesn’t seem she would have much free time left, Joy’s also an accomplished trumpet player who loves playing with local jazz groups, marching and concert bands on the weekends.
Sometimes I tell clients about my music and will bring them jazz CDs to play, which they really seem to enjoy, she smiles.
One of Joy’s clients, who has been widowed for 20 years, enjoys doing things for himself and goes out to dinner occasionally with friends.
While I cook for him and freeze the dinners to eat later, what he really wanted was another cribbage partner! Joy said. So he taught me cribbage and we play together during part of my visits. Playing the game improves his memory and recall. But I eventually got good enough that I now win some games: I can’t let him win them all!
To continue expanding his activities, Joy’s encouraging this client to listen to books on CDs from the local library. I’ve volunteered to pick up and return the CDs for him. And I think one of these days he’ll take me up on my offer!
Does your elderly loved one live in Greater Boston, the South Shore, Cape Cod or the Vineyard? Want to find out how personalized in-home care can help him or her and give you peace of mind? Joy Oakes is one of more than 300 professional, licensed home health aides and homemaker companions at Best of Care that are ready to serve your family.