Two and a half years ago, Elaine Todd knew that the Chesterfield area would be where she retired so she could be closer to her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. A pleasant change from the small community where she lived before, she loves the variety of activities available here. She does wish, however, that there were more options for affordable housing in well maintained communities for seniors.
Elaine met the owner of Seniors Helping Seniors at a church function about 2 years ago. She has been plugged in ever since. Here's what she has discovered about herself through the experience:
I have discovered that I really enjoy being with the Seniors. Many of them have lived very interesting lives and have gone through difficult circumstances. I can learn so much from them. I have also realized how important it is to me that they retain their dignity and as much control and independence as possible.
In her own words, Elaine describes a specific SHS experience:
One lady I helped needed a little housekeeping assistance but she mostly needed companionship as she worked to get her strength back from a hospitalization. She decided we would use some of our time going through and organizing her hundreds of recipes. Oh the stories she told as the recipes would jog her memory as to when and where it was served and the people involved! We laughed so hard! And, of course, I went home with countless copies of recipes she said I had to try!
Elaine has a greater appreciation for the aging process. She wants families to know that they should listen to their loved ones and strive to respect their wishes and preserve their dignity. In addition, she stresses patience for families who become frustrated when trying to push changes on their loved ones. The intentions are out of love and concern, but they can come across as aggressive. She closes by saying, "Try to remember how very very hard it is to give up ones independence even when the physical body is clearly saying 'It's time'."