I introduced Ida at the end of the essay: “What is Assisted Living?” Ida is too “large” a presence in my life for me not to give you the opportunity to get to know her … certainly on paper!!! Let me tell you about Ida!
When we first came here, Ida was assisting Pete most days. She was caring, knowledgeable, efficient…and so sweet! The top priority in finding a place for Pete and me was that he receive the care I wanted him to have. We did not find it at our first assisted living facility in Lakewood (Denver). So, we started our search again. We did know more questions to ask this second e around!
Now, every staff person here is helping Pete. Each one of them could be the “star” of an essay. But, I have to start with Ida…
Because…how often do you meet a 4 foot 8 inch, 75 year old caregiver … with championships in pool and in golf??? Once in your life — if you are lucky. (The picture is Ida with Pete.)
Yes … that is Ida!! Ida took CNA courses in high school and started working in a hospital at age 17. She soon joined respiratory therapy working with the little babies. For the next 33 years, she was at two hospitals (that ultimately merged) taking care of little ones in respiratory therapy.
During these years, Ida’s recreation was playing pool. Her team … of which she was team captain … won several local competitions and qualified to go to Las Vegas tournaments three years in a row. As Ida tells it, the first year competing in Las Vegas, the team was so aghast at being there, they did “nothing” in the tournaments. The second year, they made it to the finals of the competition ,,, winning some money! The third year … they did “nothing” again. Ida put her pool cue down and never played again!!
At age 55, Ida began doing private patient care … and learning how to play golf. A local clubhouse was offering free lessons. Ida took the lessons and was soon recognized as a “natural.” She joined the Notre Dame Women’s Golf League and began to win competitions … e.g., “overall best shooter”, “closest to the pin.” Ida played with the Women’s League for 17 years. She now plays golf for fun … about twice a week … and keeps her average in the 84 – 92 range.
Ida’s private care work was quickly noticed by acquaintances wanting help with family members. When our facility here opened in March of 2017, Ida was recruited to come here … it so happened that Ida had cared for the mother of our marketing person!!
And, that is how Ida came to be taking care of Pete. She talked to him; encouraged him; she combed his hair; she had high expectations. And, she was my assurance that there was a facility that would take care of Pete in the manner I wanted. Expectations are positive; all caregivers practice the same methods; successes by residents are complimented; time is spent with the families of residents.
And, Pete and I are together.
We are very fortunate.