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 people in the second half of life face. But they also have a strong faith and as Ethel, a nurse who serves as their Lifespark Life Care Manager (LCM), 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 Parkshore, a SilverCrest campus, brought them back together where Lifespark partners with SilverCrest to provide Life Care Management for its residents.
With a quick glance on Doris’s profile sheet, Ethel 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 Lifespark nurses,” said Ethel. “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, Ethel 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,” said Ethel. “And even more so when I shared she also might be able to walk again unassisted.” Ethel explained how the buoyancy in the pool would give her the 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 on Parkshore’s campus.
The best part? Rollie joins her – keeping his own personal goals of remaining strong in progress. His LCM Paula 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. “She’s gotten so much stronger physically with fewer falls and emotionally with this simple act of swimming and companionship with her husband,” said Ethel. 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,” smiled Ethel.
The only thing Rollie and Doris have to worry about is clearing their schedule for next Thursday’s swim.