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A Stealth Mini Share The Care™ Group: “We’re Working Our Way into Sally’s Heart – Through Her Dogs”

 

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    by

    Dana Nelson

    I have started a mini-Share The Care™ group. Part of what drew me to STC originally was that it was such a natural fit for who I am. I say it is a mini-group because the group is comprised of people with a special interest – we didn’t open it up and reach out to others for a couple of different reasons the main one being the care recipient wasn’t really open to help in the first place. So we kinda lovingly “forced” ourselves on her. Here is how it went down:

    Those of us in this group are all connected through dogs. We all train and show dogs with the same breeder/trainer. We all vary in age and how long we have known Sally. I have known her for 8 years. She is my mother’s age but she is one of my dearest friends.

    My friend Sally has Rheumatoid Arthritis. She is in her late 60s. Over the past 7 years the RA has become very bad causing her to retire early and to give up some of the things she loves. But she won’t give up everything she should for her health sake and she doesn’t always use the best judgment – for example her bones break easily so she should be careful when she walks – but she doesn’t want the disease to control her so she walks in the woods instead of on the paved driveway!

    She has fallen at least three times and twice broken bones. This most recent surgery (she has had nearly every joint in her body replaced) was a wrist fusion. She had this surgery in March, but it wouldn’t heal and she developed a bone infection so they ended up having to fuse her wrist.

    She is not going to be able to continue to care for herself and her husband. Although he is helpful, he isn’t used to caring for Sally who is a former nurse and very stubborn. She feels that she can take care of herself and that she should also continue to cook, and clean for her husband. We all knew that we just HAD to start showing up at her house to help out around the house and with meals.

    So I started a group on Facebook exclusive to just our little dog-show group. On Facebook you can have a “secret” group where others can’t see your posts and you can be exclusive as to who is in the group. It worked perfectly. We found that it was the best way to communicate. We had people stop over every day – one day they would bring a meal and the other day they would help with something. Sally never really caught on until about day 3 or 4 that we were intentionally doing this. By then she realized that she needed some help and was pretty accepting.

    We continued this every day for three weeks and now people are routinely stopping in every other day. We also connect with her everyday via the phone. On Tuesday I spoke to her and found out that she just had an X-ray and it revealed small compression fractures on her spine. So it has become clear that we will be continuing our every other day scenario for a while.

    The neat thing about this group is that we KNOW that she is more concerned about her dogs and so we are approaching the help from that perspective – we stop over to see how “THEY” are doing and while we are there we bathe them for her and gosh, we might as well vacuum too 🙂 At this point, she would still not be accepting of support from a large STC group with people (including family) from her other world. It truly blesses us to bless her with things that we are happy to do to help.

    I am so glad that our county here in Wisconsin has such a great STC attitude. I only wish more people who need it would use it and accept it.