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Ohio Department of Aging Boomerang: It all comes back to you!

Boomerang: It all comes back to you!

My Words - March 2012

Traci, a miracle baby and the power of family
A trio of shorts from the Caregiver Story Project


By Bill Howland, Canton

Traci had been coming to my house for over a year, from 7-9 a.m. each day, to get me up and dressed, supervise medications, prepare microwaveable meals and go on short errands. I said, "Traci, the maintenance workers forget to mow that strip of grass beside my patio. I have a string weed clipper that you could use to make it look nice."

"No, I am not supposed to do any outside work," Traci said. "Besides, that is man's work. I'll bet when your wife was alive you wouldn't ask her to do that."

Three Ohioans share their personal stories of the caregiver experience."Oh yes. She loved to use that grass clipper. Thought it was lots of fun," I replied.

Traci thought for a moment, and then said, "Bill, I'm pretty sure that you are going to Hell for telling lies like that."

Traci was very afraid of all insects, but she was trying to kill a large black moth that had come into my house at night. Rolled up newspaper in hand, she was diligently searching while angrily muttering, "I'm gonna git you."

I said, "Does it have red eyes and long sharp teeth?"

"I'm not gonna git close enough to see things like that," she replied.

"If it does, it will bite you, and it will really hurt." I said. "I think I see it behind you!" Traci quickly turned and then slowly turned back.

"Now Bill, I have told you that I am pretty sure that you are going straight to Hell for telling lies like that."

"I'm sorry. Traci. I think he has flown away. Far away."

Traci went back to her work, but she was tense, and kept looking around for the large black moth.


How a miracle baby led to a lifetime of caring
By Joann C. Jones, Camden

Joey was born November 22, 1966, after we had adopted five children. As a result, he was considered the "miracle baby" and was the "baby in the manger" at our church a month later. Two months later, we were told he had cerebral palsy, but we didn't learn until years after that he would never walk or talk, and that he was mentally retarded. Providing for Joey in our home for the past 44 years has been an unforeseen challenge. Four daughters were born following Joey and the third one had the same diagnosis, except that she talks all the time! I learned to be very careful for what I wish.

In the years that followed. Preble County has united in meeting the needs of all individuals like Joey and Jessica. Schools are integrated to include this population, and adult workshops have been established to meet their needs into adulthood. There are numerous group homes, and every family must decide what living situation works best for them.

My desire to care for Joe and Jessica in our own home led to it being licensed by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities in 1973. Many of our twelve licensed beds are occupied by sons and daughters of individuals I went to school with or who are our neighbors. I feel so blessed to have been able to meet this need, but the greatest blessing has been that my youngest daughter, Jackie, and her family moved back to the farm and are dedicated to continuing this work long after I am gone.


By Walta Lou Wilcox, Findlay

When we're young, it seems the future is in our hands. But this is not true, as our destiny lies in a much higher power. While sitting in a nursing home for my rehab, I learned I wanted to go home to my house. So, after much investigating, we learned I could go home and get Interim Health Care to come in. After much planning, I got an R.N. once a week, aides three times a week and therapy in my home.

With everyone learning their jobs, we soon got into a nice pattern. We learned something new each time. When I was down, they made me smile and helped the pain go away. I'm much better now and, after a year, I still have my nurses and aides. It is so nice to know that I can enjoy each day at home, and improve health-wise also. My house is in order, and also my life.

We are all blessed to have their kind of help around, so check into it and make it work. My family members are very happy to see the things their mother can do now. Caregiving is fantastic, and you make such good friends. I know God has blessed me with these folks and made my life so pleasant now. It was hard at first, but well worth the effort to try. Caregiving can change your life and outlook. It brings a smile.


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