When illness and aging cause seniors to minimize their activities, finding creative solutions to help them enhance their lives is critical.
George is a man in his late 80s who led an independent life until he developed cancer, experienced severe macular degeneration, and a lifelong stutter got worse. He was very aware of not appearing the way he used to, and was extremely self-conscious.
At the initial assessment in George’s apartment, there were 2 lawyers, 2 bankers, and Gideon and Rebecca from Eddy & Schein Group. It was quite a crowd, and it was obvious a working relationship was already in place.
While Rebecca spoke with George and the others to identify the specific needs for which Eddy & Schein had been invited to join the team, Gideon went into the bathroom. There, he found little placards with funny French remarks. So, he came out and started speaking fluent French to George. The rest was history. There was virtually no one else in the room except George and Gideon — communicating gracefully in another language.
From then on, the goal was to restore George to his previous life.
- George and Gideon visited the Lighthouse and other institutions for the seeing impaired. They bought a large magnifier which enabled George to read and write without extraordinary difficulty, allowing him to partake in a favorite pastime: Poetry.
- Working with his attorney, specific legal changes were made to make things easier for George.
- Gideon worked regularly with the banker and accountant to get George’s finances in order.
- When it became apparent that George needed daily assistance, Gideon introduced George to a geriatric care manager who brought in excellent aides.
Most importantly, Gideon began to work on George’s social involvement.
George used to regularly attend his godson’s performances but had stopped going. He also had a subscription to the Metropolitan Opera which he gave up, and he stopped visiting family in Vermont. George was concerned that, without sight, his experiences would not be the same, and he would be a burden to others.
Slowly, over time, Gideon discussed the Metropolitan Opera and eventually asked, “If I got you seats in the first-row center, would you consider going?” George answered, “Yes, but only if you go with me.” It became a regular occurrence for George and Gideon to attend together. Next, they saw George’s godson in a Shakespeare production in Pennsylvania.
The biggest accomplishment was convincing George to make the trip to Vermont for a family reunion. He required 24-hour care, so his aide went with him and George was never a burden. The next thing you know, he was asking Gideon to book him a flight to Chicago for a family wedding.
Life had really changed and, in a sense, it changed by reverting back to the way it was. Gideon did not introduce anything that George had not already done. He simply helped him understand that he could still do these things, just differently.
Working with the team to restore life to the way it was before is how we approach working with our clients. At Eddy & Schein Group, we look forward to assisting more seniors to reclaim their lives.