By Julia Eldred, Media & Communications Assistant
As a member of Care Advantage’s communications and creative team, I often serve as the company photographer at events and within the office. I recently had the opportunity to visit a few of our clients in their homes to capture the special relationship that forms between patients and their caregivers. Inviting a stranger into your home to care for you or your loved one is a meaningful and sacred act. You offer your trust to someone outside of your family with the confidence that they will provide the best possible care. You are giving the responsibility of care to a professional who is specifically trained to give a patient the care they need – something that many families are not equipped to handle. It can be scary handing over responsibility to someone outside of the family, but many times caregivers become honorary members of the family anyway!
Spending time with three patient and caregiver pairs, I quickly saw the bond and the ease with which each of them interacted. My experience photographing these relationships changed how I view home healthcare and impressed upon me the importance of the work Care Advantage does every day. Over the next couple of weeks, I will write a blog post about each client/patient pair I visited. Last week I wrote about Robin and Elsie. This story is about about Hiroko and her caregiver Betty.
We visited Hiroko at her home at a beautiful retirement facility. Betty happily met us in the lobby to guide us to Hiroko’s apartment. As we walked down the halls, she chatted to other residents and explained that we came from Care Advantage. Betty reminded us that we should speak up because Hiroko’s hearing isn’t the best. She told us that she and Hiroko had complementary outfits on to look best in the photos. “I knew she had a pink cardigan somewhere!” Betty said explaining that Hiroko wasn’t sure if she owned any pink.
When we walked into Hiroko’s apartment, she was sitting at a table working on a puzzle. She explained that, even though she didn’t much like puzzles, her children encouraged her to work on them in order to keep her mind sharp. As I got ready to take some photos, Betty sat down with Hiroko to help work on the puzzle. With her arm resting behind Hiroko’s back, Betty gestured to pieces and inquired about which sections she was concentrating on. They smiled while working and celebrated each correct piece they found. It was like I wasn’t even there taking pictures. They were just enjoying each other’s company as friends.
We decided to move over to the sitting area to get a few photos with the two together. Betty helped Hiroko make her way over to the couch and help her sit down. As I gave instructions, Betty gently repeated to Hiroko and made sure she understood. We then moved out onto the balcony of the apartment for some pictures in the sun. Betty helped Hiroko out through the door and into a seat. She leaned against the railing looking around the grounds of the facility and told us a little bit about it. Resting her hand on Hiroko’s shoulder, she pointed out different things and leaned down so Hiroko could hear her better.
After finishing with the pictures outside, Hiroko wanted to show us around her apartment. “She loves to give everyone a tour,” Betty said. Hiroko showed us many different pieces of art on the wall, but it was Betty who spoke up to say that they were all painted by Hiroko herself! Betty showed us her favorite piece and asked Hiroko if she had shone us others. Betty continued complimenting Hiroko’s artistry and bragged for her about how people within the facility were interested in buying them. Betty told us that one of the painting was of Hiroko and her late husband’s old house. Hiroko continued the story by telling us how she had decided to create the painting and how glad she was that she had. Just like Robin and Elsie, Betty and Hiroko behaved more like family than just as a caregiver and client.
As we were getting ready to leave, Hiroko and Betty decided to walk out with us because they were going to take a trip to the store anyway. Betty accompanied Hiroko to the kitchen to look around the cabinets and fridge to see what they might need at the store. When we needed Hiroko to sign a waiver for the photos, Betty found a pen and helped her fill out the form correctly indicating where she should sign. Betty was there for Hiroko for whatever she needed. When we made it down to the lobby, the receptionist asked what she and Hiroko had planned for the afternoon. Betty responded, “Oh just getting up to some trouble.”
Spending time with both Hiroko and Betty was a great experience! Click around our website to see more of the photos I took! You can read more about their story here. Also, stay tuned for stories one more story coming up next week! Read last week’s story about Robin and Elsie here.
If you are interested in the services like those Betty provides for Hiroko, give us a call! We will come to your home for a free assessment!