A Letter to Nurse Next Door

Nurse Next Door

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Hear from a San Antonio client on how Nurse Next Door home care services helped with her father-in-law’s care

As our parents age, there may come a time when they require more care than their children can provide. That was the case in my family with my dear, sweet father-in-law, who recently passed away.

My mother-in-law passed away in June of 2015, and my father-in-law was pretty much rendered helpless. He didn’t know his way around the kitchen, know how to use a microwave oven or stove, know how to do his own laundry (my in-laws were “old school” and his wife did all the upkeep, and cooking and grocery shopping for the two of them). Now, couple this issue with the fact he had dementia, lost his wife of fifty-four years and was on a steady decline, we had to get him some help. This is when we did some research and found Lisa Lyles with Nurse Next Door.

I remember the day she came to my father-in-law’s house and our family interviewed her — it was easy to see that she was passionate about her work and we soon realized this was our very best option for my father-in-law. Nurse Next Door allowed us to stay as daughter-in-law and my husband as son versus as  caregivers. My father-in-law  couldn’t even remember to take his medicine. We needed peace knowing that he would be taken care of in all aspects of his new “normal”.

Lisa carefully inventoried the kind of man my father-in-law was personality-wise and selected caregivers that would be a positive match for him. Little did we know at the time that these caregivers would become like family! I will say that he was reluctant at first, just as anybody might be who was adjusting to giving up some of their independence, but the professional caregivers gently worked their way into becoming not only his caregivers but his companions.

Photo: Tammy in the pink scrubs and Lisa Lyles to the right

One in particular, whom we will never-ever forget, is named Tammy.  She started with him a few months after his wife passed away, and stayed with him for over a year until his passing on March 11, 2017. Tammy eased her way into his life. She gained his confidence when he was reluctant for any kind of help in a short amount of time — trust me when I say it’s no easy task when a loved one can no longer drive, fend for themselves, is often confused (as a result of dementia), and pretty much helpless in the kitchen and with laundry. Tammy went above and beyond her call of duty. He touched her life as much as she touched his. She treated him with dignity and respect, not like a child. Tammy made sure that he took his medicine in a timely fashion, she cooked, cleaned, organized his home for him, and took him to doctor’s’ appointments on several occasions.  The pressure was lifted off my husband and I, allowing us to be the loved ones and not the caretakers. Tammy became an integral person in my father-in-law’s life, actually our whole family’s life, and we are forever grateful to Nurse Next Door for matching Tammy with him.

We also became quite fond of several other caregivers. Another caregiver who touched our hearts is named Fonda. It’s very difficult watching a man who was the authority figure, breadwinner, avid golf player, world traveler, etc. stop doing the things he used to do and loved to do. Slowly, every bit of his independence started to erode away. Fonda started with my father-in-law working night shifts. My husband and I realized we couldn’t maintain our family life and be there for him when he was up during the night. We tried alternating nights at his house and soon realized that wasn’t going to work. We didn’t get sleep, we were physically and emotionally drained, and we were stressed to the ninth degree. Fonda was our lifesaver, and unquestionably my father-in-laws lifesaver. She taught us things to help make his life easier. They were actually just simple things, such as moving furniture around to prevent injuries and falls.  Just days before he went to be with the Lord, he asked Fonda to pray with him, which she obliged. She made sure he was safe and well taken care of, thus, allowing us some much needed sleep. This just showed that he was comfortable with Fonda and felt safe with her presence. Without the exceptional care from the Nurse Next Door team, we would not have been able to grant his wish to stay at home, and ultimately, pass away at home with hospice care.  

Nurse Next Door’s motto is “Our talent is caring,” I say You Ain’t Kiddin! They made a difference in our lives and touched our hearts forever.  

–  Robert and Jody J

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