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Client Stories

Erna Shines At Her Family Reunion

Erna Shines At Her Family ReunionErna Collins had a health scare that nearly cost her life. Three years later, Erna is getting ready to celebrate her 98th birthday in October and attended a family reunion this past summer. How? Lifesprk, helped create a new pathway.

Mary, a nurse who is Erna’s Life Care Manager, visits Erna weekly, monitoring her health and wellness, home and safety and providing socialization.  She also acts as a liaison between the Mt. Olivet staff where Erna lives and Erna’s family.  When Erna’s daughter, Marjorie Bundgaard (on behalf of her sons, Lowell, Douglas and Roger Hawkinson), requested assistance with Erna attending a family reunion, Lifesprk sprang into action.  According to Roger, he often took Erna out of her nursing home for day trips and holidays but felt a full weekend was going to need specific coordination. The plan? Mary coordinated changes in the care plan, set up medications for the caregiver to administer while away and coordinated a live-in caregiver to spend the entire weekend with Erna so everyone had the opportunity to enjoy the reunion.

As a Lifesprk client, Erna receives the Lifesprk Experience™ which is different than other services because it goes beyond traditional home care to spark lives. “We are able to be flexible in each client’s life plan to add on things that are important such as being present at momentous occasions and we encourage and support participating in activities they love, even if it’s a ride to the hair salon,” said Mary. By prioritizing what’s most meaningful to them and identifying a plan to reach those goals, clients like Erna, are able to shine.

And shine she did as she drove 2 ½ hours north with her son, Roger, and his wife to the Larsmont Cottages on Lake Superior where Megan, a Lifesprk caregiver, awaited their arrival. According to Roger, with three generations present, it was important Mom was there. “Megan was wonderful,” said Roger. “She stayed upstairs from my mother’s suite to be available through the night as well if needed.” As a live-in caregiver, Megan coordinated Erna’s every need from morning routines, to bringing her to dinners, keeping medication regimens on track, and helping her be present at all activities throughout the weekend.

“Mom even participated in our family’s infamous ‘Penny Game’ where she won and was thrilled to beat the younger generations,” recalled Roger. Erna settled in well that weekend, enjoying every moment – stories shared, games played, meals eaten together, and a family picnic Megan helped her participate in at Split Rock lighthouse.

Roger added that with Megan helping Mom, they had the confidence to enjoy being children and grandchildren, and simply enjoy being there together as a family. Not only was Erna shining, but her family was as well. (In fact, I think they still are!)