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Throughout her life, Emma Faunce has been a creator. Even today, at age 95, she continues to pursue art, painting watercolors for friends and family.
“I was quite the painter; I did oil paintings for years,” Faunce said. “When I got older I started to paint watercolors.”
According to Faunce’s daughter, Carol Dodson, the family has turned these works of art into cards, printed them out and given them to the whole family, including Faunce’s four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
“We wanted everyone to have copies of her paintings,” Dodson said.
Besides using paint and brushes, Faunce also wields words. The senior has researched and written her family’s history, along with quite a few poems. Faunce has much to share, as she has seen the whole world shift since she was born in Canada in 1914.
“We came to the United States when I was 9 years old, and we lived right in Seattle, Washington,” Faunce said. “I became a citizen when I got older.”
The senior was married for a little more than 60 years and had two daughters. When her youngest daughter was around 12, Faunce went to work as an employee of Carnation Ice Cream.
Today, she still enjoys life in the Pacific Northwest state of Washington, with her two daughters nearby and the delightful company of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
With the help of a HomeWell Personal Assistant, Faunce has the freedom and peace of mind to focus on her family and to keep on creating whenever inspiration strikes. Two Personal Assistants visit her a total of three times a week, staying with the senior 24 hours at a time.
“There was a nurse in the hospital who talked to my daughter, and she thought it was a good idea to hire HomeWell,” Faunce said. “They take care of me pretty well — I can’t even tell you all the little things they do for me.”
From laundry and other household chores to fixing Faunce’s favorite meals and making sure she takes her medication on time, the two HomeWell Personal Assistants work to ensure that the senior is safe and comfortable.
“We’re here when they’re not, so it gives us a little break and time to deal with things in our own lives,” said Dodson, who helps care for her mother along with sister Janet Bradley.
“It also keeps us from being the nagging daughters all the time,” she added with a laugh.
It was 1942 when they met at a dance in St. Louis, Missouri. A year later, the couple was married. Today, 95-year-old Juanita Olson and her 92-year-old husband Carl Olson have been together for more than six decades.
“He was in a Navy uniform the first time I met him, at a dance during the second World War,” Juanita said. “After the war, he chose to attend the School of Optometry in Chicago — we were married by then, so I went with him.”
During his time in the Navy, Carl’s ship had docked in a Seattle port. While the vessel underwent maintenance, Carl took the opportunity to explore the city of Seattle by bus, and he fell in love with it.
Remembering the lush green city, Carl Olson eventually moved to Washington state and started an optometry practice of his own. The couple settled into a Seattle suburb, where they have stayed for nearly 60 years. It wasn’t until 12 years ago that Carl retired from his optometry practice.
“He loved his practice and his patients so much, he waited until he was 80 to retire,” Juanita said.
The couple has two children, a daughter and a son, who are now 58 and 52, respectively. The kids take pride in helping their parents, by looking after the house or running simple errands.
“My daughter is the one who found out about HomeWell and suggested we get in touch with them,” Juanita said.
After Carl began suffering memory loss in recent years, 95-year-old Juanita found herself taking full-time care of her husband, with assistance from her adult children whenever possible.
“We just needed help,” she said.
For the past six months, two HomeWell Personal Assistants have been helping the Olsons out twice a month, with an additional day of service once every three months.
“I have the young lady come and take me grocery shopping twice a month, and a young man comes to sit with my husband while we’re gone,” Juanita said. “Every three months or so, they also come so that I can go to my dentist appointments.”
According to Juanita, the consistent assistance is an integral part of her life.
“I couldn’t get along without it,” she said. “I can’t go shopping because I don’t have the vision for driving, and at 95 years old, I don’t think anyone would want me driving if I could.”
Fortunately, Juanita hasn’t let age or lack of a driver’s license prevent her from reaching out for help and companionship. Besides her children and the HomeWell Personal Assistants, Juanita receives visits and helping hands from her church pastor, as well as members of their congregation.
“We can’t make it to church anymore,” she said, “but the pastor comes and visits us.”
It’s important for Juanita to maintain solid bonds, to help support her as she cares for a husband with dementia. “He has a hard time understanding words,” she said, “and a hard time choosing words to express himself.”
However, Juanita is determined to continue caring for her husband in their own home — with help from their kids, the community and HomeWell Senior Care — for as long as possible.
“We own our own home here, and we’ve been in this house for almost 60 years,” she said. “I’m not putting my husband in a home — I’m going to take care of him for as long as I can.”
After an operation to alleviate a stomach tumor, Mardette Sanders knew she would need help around the house, especially in those first few weeks of recovery. That’s why Sander’s daughter hired a HomeWell Senior Care Personal Assistant.
“I was very grateful, since I wasn’t thinking too straight myself about what I would do when I got home and so forth,” Sanders said. “I was awfully glad she did that.”
Carol Edgar, HomeWell Care Manager, visited Sanders while she was in a rehabilitation clinic, in order to get to know the new client and explain the HomeWell service.
“It sounded good to me,” Sanders said. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle it myself without somebody washing clothes, making beds, all that.”
In early March, Sanders was back home following the surgery and rehabilitation process, and her HomeWell Personal Assistant, Judy, was at the door the next day.
“I’m so glad she was here,” Sanders said. “It’s security, really.”
The HomeWell client had been experiencing dizzy spells since her surgery, so she used Judy’s visits as safe times to practice moving around without a walker.
“I could walk around and know that she was here in case anything happened,” Sanders said. “It gave me a chance to test out my legs and that sort of thing.”
Having the “safety net” of a HomeWell Personal Assistant was a huge help and comfort to Sanders during her initial recovery period, as Judy took care of chores around the house, from cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms to making the bed, doing laundry and vacuuming.
“I didn’t have enough energy, and I had a few aches and pains, so I couldn’t do it myself,” Sanders said. “A lot of the housekeeping was out of the picture for me.”
The HomeWell client also was unable to eat anything but puréed foods following her operation, so Judy was on hand to send everything through the blender before serving it to Sanders.
“She stood by when I was having various bath rituals,” Sanders said. “She also stood by when I took my first shower alone, in case I could take an arm or something like that.”
Now that the HomeWell client is through the toughest period of recovery, Judy’s visits have dwindled from several days a week in the beginning to once weekly. Sanders said she may continue with the HomeWell service if she finds that daily chores are challenging on her own.