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Client Stories

Being Present Ignites a Spark

Mary Schenack and Vicki CondonSparking lives doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a process that takes place before you open yourself up to another person and trust them with your wishes, goals and fears about aging.

Mary Schenach has formed a bond with her Life Care Manager, Vicki, that has changed their relationship from nurse to ‘surrogate daughter.’ Mary says of Vicki, ‘she’s my eyes and ears and I count on her for everything.’ But her spark wasn’t ignited right away.

Six years ago when Mary met Vicki, Mary had just moved from Spokane, Washington to be closer to her siblings who lived in the Twin Cities. Mary’s daughter, Marie, lived in Oklahoma and needed a partner to help navigate her mother’s transition because she lived out of state.” During those early years, Vicki helped Mary move into her independent living campus, found her a primary care doctor, drove her to dermatology appointments and took her grocery shopping. But as the bond between Mary and Vicki grew, Mary began to anticipate their weekly visits. For Marie, Vicki was a lifesaver because she gave her peace of mind knowing her mother was taken care of so well – ‘everyone needs someone like you in their life if they have aging parents,” told Vicki.

“Aging can be scary for people,” said Vicki. “If my presence gives her peace of mind, then I’m doing my job. I never get tired of sitting and talking with Mary. I appreciate her wisdom and I look forward to our time together.” When Vicki visits Mary each week she often brings her little things to brighten her day. “She was thrilled when I brought her batteries for her hearing aid and the smile on her face when I brought her a telephone that amplified sound so she could hear better made me feel equally overjoyed,” said Vicki. “And when health scares proved challenging, Vicki never left Mary’s side and did what she could to encourage a spark once again.”

What makes Mary’s story so real is that her spark is ignited simply by Vicki’s presence. When we focus on the people, on the things that matter most to them, that’s when we see results. “I live to see you. You know how much I appreciate you, right?” said Mary to Vicki. “You are always so helpful.” And that’s sometimes all we need to feel sparked.