To the Editor: Let me preface this letter by briefly introducing myself. My name is Catherine Girard, and I am the daughter of Eviginia Skodras, a 96-year-old participant in the Apponaug Cornerstone Adult Day Program. My professional background was as a
To the Editor:
Let me preface this letter by briefly introducing myself. My name is Catherine Girard, and I am the daughter of Eviginia Skodras, a 96-year-old participant in the Apponaug Cornerstone Adult Day Program. My professional background was as a public service employee for nearly 35 years, and my educational background is in social work. I am no stranger to service providers, social programs, and the care, or sadly, the lack of care, for this segment of the population. Unfortunately, I had to take an early retirement to move my mother in with us, as her physical and mental health had been quickly declining.
As we shuffled down this brick road of “red tape” and uncertainty, I was truly at a loss, as to how I would accomplish this tremendous task of caring for my mother. Per the suggestion of a social worker at Neighborhood Healthcare, we looked into the services provided at Cornerstone. At the time (about two years ago), I thought, this will never work, as my mother was the caregiver as a volunteer in the Senior Companion Program and at the Veteran's Hospital for over 25 years. She will never go for this idea of people taking care of her. By some leap of faith, my mother agreed to visit the facility. My mother, husband, and myself met with a very pleasant and outgoing woman, with smiling eyes, named Eileen Unger. Much to my surprise, it seemed as though this might work. When I tell you, Eileen dotted all i’s and crossed all t’s. She left no stone unturned. Faster than you could shake a stick, she had coordinated all the approval paperwork, transportation services, and we were off to start our “first day of school” as my mother calls it (dementia), in no time.
Ginny, as she likes to be called, is still participating in all the wonderful activities this program has to offer. My mother is treated with dignity, respect, and cared for by the hands of angels on a daily basis. Sharon Kupa, nurse director, keeps the lines of communication open if she feels something is even a little off with my mother that day. She starts the call with, “don’t panic, this isn’t an emergency.” Perhaps, I’ve answered the phone with, “what’s wrong” one too many times.
We all know that caring for an immobile patient with dementia can be extremely challenging, but these ladies, namely, Sharon Kupa, nurse director, Eileen Unger, case manager, Bailey Kowal, activity director, Allyssa Cateano, med tech and nursing assistant, Heather Waterman, nursing assistant, and Vikki Paul, physical therapist, demonstrate their performance with the utmost professionalism, dedication, and it’s evident that they truly enjoy what they do. I know my mother loves going to school and talks highly of the principal (Eileen) on a daily basis.
People are often quick to complain about many things in life, but I am a firm believer of reinforcing the positive, and give credit where credit is due. Hats off to the team at Cornerstone! My life would be complete chaos without this program. I value them more than I can even explain in this letter.
Thank you Cornerstone for this invaluable program! Cheers to many more years of service to the aging community, and God Bless you all!
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