Rollie and Doris are husband and wife, an active couple throughout their 68 years of marriage. Ping pong games, swimming, faith, love – these are what motivated them to be a strong team together. At 91 and 93, they are discovering that some of the activities they used to love are still possible with a few adjustments.
They’re human, with the same concerns, issues, and challenges most people in the second half of life face. But they also have a strong faith and their Life Care Manager (LCM), who is a registered nurse, points out “the sweetest most loving relationship.” It’s what got them through their time apart when Doris lived in Memory Care at one community while Rollie was at a different senior community. Doris had her share of falls, was weak, barely able to walk, and lonely – until an opening at a senior care campus using the whole person senior care model brought them back together.
With a quick glance on Doris’s profile sheet, Doris’s LCM learned Doris had a passion for swimming. LCMs are nurses, prepared to care for people with memory and other health issues. “But we’re not just any nurse, we’re whole person senior care nurses,” the LCM said. “And knowing a client likes to swim can make all the difference in their care plan because it could be the key to sparking their life, a missing piece in today’s health care.” Turns out, the LCM was right – sparking not only one life, but two.
After many conversations with Doris about her deep love of swimming, the decision was made – Doris was getting in the pool. Doris was excited about the opportunity to swim. And even more so when her LCM shared she also might be able to walk again unassisted. Her LCM explained how the buoyancy in the pool would give Doris added support to walk, and with another person in the water with her, she’d be safe. The spark in Doris’s eyes was worth every effort to get her to the pool.
The best part? Rollie joins her – in keeping with his own personal goals of remaining strong. His LCM said he’s had less back pain and getting into the pool gave him the peace of mind knowing Doris has help, and they can continue their athletic lifestyle.” Twice a week they get into the pool, together. Doris has gotten so much stronger physically with fewer falls and emotionally, too, with this simple act of swimming and companionship with her husband. She’s now floating on her back, hitting a ball with a paddle and can move unencumbered by a walker or wheelchair. Her goals were met and the spark was ignited.
The only thing Rollie and Doris have to worry about is clearing their schedule for next Thursday’s swim.