When Jim Welch, owner of SYNERGY HomeCare of Temecula, Calif., saw COVID-19 wind its way into the local area, he noticed a reduction in the need for home care, as people were afraid to have others enter their homes for fear for of being exposed to the virus. Jim quickly found himself with staff who needed and wanted to help others.
After fielding many calls from seniors about how to fulfill basic living requirements like getting groceries and prescriptions, Jim decided he and his staff would offer to deliver groceries and prescriptions at no cost for some of the local 55+ retirement communities and senior centers.
Free grocery delivery to seniors
Jim’s free delivery offer was well received, resulting in SYNERGY HomeCare becoming the only home care agency listed as a COVID-19 resource for seniors on the city of Temecula’s website. Additionally, the activities director of a local 55+ community emailed all 1,500 homes in her community informing them of SYNERGY HomeCare’s generous offer to help. She also asked SYNERGY HomeCare for assistance in delivering County-provided meals to homebound residents of the community.
While Jim and his staff were thrilled to be helping so many seniors in a time of uncertainty, there turned out to be other opportunities to help as well. Several residents who had requested assistance with shopping also had an interest in discussing their other care needs and the services that SYNERGY HomeCare provides its clients.
Blessing in disguise
Jim’s office manager, Gail Hopkins, took the lead in working with the community and quickly established a rapport with an older couple who was receiving the free grocery deliveries. Gail learned that the wife had advanced dementia and her husband was struggling to care for the two of them. Their personal hygiene, nutrition, medication adherence and condition of their home were all suffering.
Gail contacted the couple’s adult children, a son who lived 90 minutes away and a daughter who lived across the country and was unable to visit as often as she would like. That call was an unexpected gift for both of them. They had been worrying about their parents and went to see them as often as they could, but it wasn’t enough to meet their parents’ needs. They were delighted that Gail cared enough to contact them.
It didn’t happen overnight, but after much communication, Gail was able to help the son and daughter move their mother into a memory care facility, which was a blessing for everyone involved. Then it was time to turn their attention to helping their father. As a truly devoted husband, he had given all his time and effort to caring for his wife and paid little attention to himself.
Gail, Jim and everyone involved has seen a tremendous turnaround in his life. With the help of a dedicated team of caregivers, his personal hygiene has improved, his clothes are clean, his meals are prepared for him and his home is tidy. His caregivers provide medication reminders so that he takes his medications on time every day, which has contributed to an overall improvement in his cognitive function, physical health and attitude. He now has the quality of life that his children had hoped for.
None of this would have happened if it was not for Jim’s compassionate gesture. The children might still be struggling with how to deal with their aging parents. And the husband might still be struggling at home, trying to care for his wife, who by the way, is doing better, too.