By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY — “Home is where the heart is.” Yes, it’s an old-fashioned phrase, but for many people, having to move from the home where they have lived for years, perhaps where their children were raised, due to age or disabilities, can be heart-wrenching. There are a number of alternatives available — just watch the TV, and advertisement after advertisement will suggest calling one program or another company.
For those who desire a faith-based program with caregivers who are highly trained and caring, Legacy Care is an affordable in-home care program of Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph Senior Care Services. The program offers a broad range of services individually designed to fit the needs of its participants. Legacy Care services also provide families relief from stress and peace of mind.
The goal of Legacy Care is to support, maintain, and improve senior and/ or disabled adults’ quality of life and ability to function independently through its services, enabling them to “age in place” as long as is appropriate. Legacy Care promotes independence, and self-determination through compassionate services and quality care options, and has been leading the senior services pack for 40 years.
Numerous surveys and interviews with older adults indicate that they want to live in their own homes and communities as long as possible. The services provided by the Legacy Care’s dedicated team of experienced caregivers and registered nurses help make it possible. Available services include homemaking/housekeeping services (meal preparation, including special diets, cleaning, laundry, errands); personal care (assistance with bathing, grooming, walking), respite and companion services, medication monitoring (oral medication set-up and general health assessments).
Legacy Care nurses and caregivers are selected for their caring disposition and personal integrity, work flexible schedules and receive extensive training to ensure that the care is of the highest quality.
When an adult son or daughter cannot be with an aging or disabled parent 24 hours a day, it can be very worrisome. Jo Marie Miller lives in Blue Springs while her mother, Rose Marie, lives in Independence. Due to her work schedule, Jo Marie is not able to visit her mother more than two or three times a week and on weekends. She was increasingly worried and stressed out about her mother, who had been diagnosed with early stages of dementia. Rose Marie was becoming uncommunicative and that didn’t help Jo Marie. About two and a half years ago, she contacted Catholic Charities Senior Care Services and enrolled her mother in the Legacy Care Program.
Stephanie, a registered nurse, visits once a week, administering vitamin B-12 shots, monitoring Rose Marie’s medication dosages and checking her blood pressure and blood glucose readings. Stephanie also will call in prescription refills, and Jo Marie will pick them up.
“Mom takes about 20 pills every day,” Jo Marie said, “and it’s nice that Stephanie stays on top of refilling the prescriptions. She fills the weekly pill pack and keeps me up to date on mom’s blood pressure and glucose meter numbers.”
Amy visits daily for about two hours, ensuring that Rose Marie has food for the day, checking her blood pressure and seeing that she takes her medicines. She also talks to Rose Marie, providing her with companionship and interaction. The respite care provided helps Jo Marie also.
“Mom is much more animated after Amy has been there,” Jo Marie said. “She talks more.” Legacy Care services provided by Stephanie and Amy have helped Jo Marie “immensely!” by relieving her stress and worry over her mother.
“Mom will be 78 this June,” she said, “and she has been able to stay in her own home thanks to Catholic Charities” Legacy Care. Grants have covered the costs of the services for Jo Marie, but fees are set up on a sliding scale based on a client’s resources.
Jo Marie was so grateful to Catholic Charities for her mother’s care and assistance that she applied for and won a grant to benefit Catholic Charities. “It’s a wonderful program,” she said. “I give them praises all the time.”
The Legacy Care program acknowledges that sometimes adult children are uncomfortable assessing their parent’s situation or talking to them about it, fearing it will be seen as disrespectful. There is a “Tip Sheet” available on the website, www.catholiccharities-kcsj.org, click on Senior Services and Legacy Care.
The tip sheet can help identify signals that a loved one may need help to maintain health, safety and their independence. Some of the environmental signs include unpleasant odors in the home, trash not emptied, bills left unpaid and unorganized and inadequate food supplies in the house.
Personal indicators may include limited or deteriorating mobility or stability; unexplained weight loss or lack of appetite; bruises or other injuries indicating falls; changes in personal hygiene; moods indicating loneliness, sadness or feelings of isolation; slurred or confused speech and difficulties in remembering children’s, grandchildren’s or friend’s names.
When the Legacy Care team is contacted, they provide a complimentary initial assessment of the senior adult. Seniors and their family members are encouraged to actively participate in developing a made-to-order service plan and sliding fee scale based on income. Services are available on a weekly basis or more often if needed.
“Catholic Charities, and Amy and Stephanie, have relieved my mind over Mom,” Jo Marie said. “The relief from stress is wonderful. I know how she is and what’s she’s doing. I am so appreciative.”
For more information on Legacy Care Services, contact Lynne Serrano, manager, In-Home Services, (816) 659-8257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.