Valley of the Sun, AZ

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Comfort Keepers Giving Care and Hope in the Holiday Season

  December 07, 2016
For most, returning home for the holidays means sharing time with the family they no longer see with predictable regularity. A family event for the holidays often involves sharing a lovingly prepared meal and celebrating togetherness: a time to renew the hearts and bonds of loved ones. Often, we share fond memories and extend hospitality during this season. But, there are some who feel the pang of worry as they come to realize the declining health of their loved ones. Many leave the feast table and return home, acutely aware that the health or ability of an aging relative has dwindled so much in the time since they had been with them last. Did you notice mom borrowed an elbow to move from seat to seat? Maybe dad struggled to bring his fork to his mouth. Perhaps a beloved aunt was too shy to ask for a ride, and dismissed concerns about her ability to drive. With families spread so far as they often are these days, it is easy to miss a holiday or two, and flow of time does not slow for any. Possibly, they seem to be well enough, but are beginning to struggle with independence. These worrying signs become exacerbated by distance and complicated by busy daily lives.

Knowing a change must be made can be a distressing reality for families with aging elders; it is likely more so for the elder. Inquiries into the struggle to remain independent are often dismissed with a good-natured laugh or gentle refusal. No person wishes to feel burdensome, especially to their family, but it is equally difficult for some to admit their trials to themselves. Secretly attempting to conceal or combat loss of independence can lead to an all-too-common and silent slip into isolation and increasing despair. If only it were easy to change the course of own lives, to take our elders in, or to keep them close to check in on them frequently — all involved would be greatly comforted.

Unfortunately, life is not so simple and rarely changes solely to accommodate our desires. Many elders are not in such poor health that they require constant monitoring or medical services. Many, perhaps, could live quite comfortably on their own, if they could just have some help with their changes in self-sufficiency. Many more are unwilling to leave their homes unnecessarily and give up the comfort of familiar surroundings and community for the halls of an assisted living facility. So, what consolation can be offered to a senior and family that are facing a decision as crucial as this?

Sheriolyn Curry, owner of Comfort Keepers and once a caregiver to her own mother, understands the difference an in-home caregiver can make in the life of a senior. More than just helping with everyday tasks and personal care, Comfort Keepers provides the seniors they serve with the hope they need to continue living independently for as long as possible. “Hope is not quantifiable,” Sheriolyn states, “but it adds to the duration of their lives in a quantifiable way.” A positive outlook can indeed be inspiring to someone who may have previously lost their enthusiasm to live well and push forward against adversity. Comfort Keepers’ in-home services offer this vital renewal of optimism by restoring agency, ability, and companionship.

Most people achieve a sense of pride and a swell of vitality from that which they do. Whether that person is a skilled gardener, a lucrative business owner, or a parent of successful children, most associate their joy in life to what they have accomplished, or what they see themselves as doing well. This sense of purpose and the will to live well can be damaged by the restrictions imposed by advancing age.

Challenges to mobility and ability can make even the simplest activities of daily living — housework, cooking, getting out of bed — into a difficult endeavor. Comfort Keepers exists to assist people with challenging limitations, helping them to do the things that enable them feel independent and self-sufficient.

The caregivers of Comfort Keepers allow the elderly to age in place in their own home, giving them a sense of comfort as well as allowing them to maintain the highest degree of independence possible. Sheriolyn believes that offering seniors an opportunity to stay at home where they are comfortable, familiar with the surroundings, and are connected to a community helps seniors feel safe and remain positive.

She is genuinely excited to offer these services, as she sees the hope her agency fosters as adding to the quality of life of those they serve by allowing seniors to choose with dignity how and where to live their lives. To do less than this, Sheriolyn states, is to devalue them.

“These are people who once made valuable contributions. They may not be able to do so as actively now, but that does not make them lose value.”

For Sheriolyn and her Comfort Keepers, the most important part of providing these in-home caregiving services is that it provides isolated seniors with valuable companionship. Feeling included and cared for helps all people live stronger, more purposeful lives, but is especially important for those who live distantly from family or have lost many friends. Simply because many elders are not as mobile or social as they once were, does not mean that their need for community and belonging is reduced. Life does not end for those who find themselves struggling with everyday activities, but their connection to family and the wider world may suffer. Visiting Comfort Keepers provide a stable, friendly connection for seniors who may have largely withdrawn from social life. Many of the caregivers bond with those they serve, coming to see them not as patients or clients, but as family. This sense of connection can be of great comfort to someone who lives with loneliness, and the companionship helps them to regain a sense of belonging and look forward to the next visit.

Because Sheriolyn and some of her staff have experienced the caregiving relationship from both ends, they understand the physical and emotional needs of those who require in-home care. With a dedicated, personal investment, Comfort Keepers is always looking for new ways to make service delivery synonymous with loving care. Just as the name implies, Comfort Keepers chooses to specialize in honoring, respecting, and maintaining the dignity of those they serve and love.

Comfort Keepers® offers flexibility, personalized care plans, and convenience for every budget, serving Chandler, Sun Lakes, Gilbert Tempe, Mesa, Queen Creek, San Tan, Maricopa, Casa Grande, and other Pinal County locations. Our main office is located at 1311 W, Chandler Blvd, Suite 160, Chandler AZ.

Contact us via phone at 480-659-9201, fax at 480-650-9351, or email us at Locally owned and operated by Sheriolyn Curry, MDiv, CSA. Se habla Español.

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December 07, 2016
Keywords:  Feature Story

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