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Hope for Living
“Working with Ritha, is like a breath of fresh air. Despite all that she is facing, she goes through it with a smile and grace” – Donna Dailey, Waypoint Home Care Nurse
Ritha emigrated to the United States from Haiti 43 years ago. In the early 1980s, she married and moved to Manchester, had a son and divorced, raising her boy as a single parent. She worked three jobs, one full time, two part-time to support them. Highly motivated, she passed these traits to her son, a motivational speaker in Boston.
Ritha has lived in the same apartment on Manchester’s West Side since moving here but is hoping to move to a first-floor apartment, due to her increasing mobility and health problems. Once an active woman who walked from her apartment several miles to South Willow Street and worked out at the gym for two hours at a time, her body began to betray her several years ago. She has had two heart attacks, is an insulin-dependent diabetic, has kidney disease and may soon require dialysis. Now, the mere task of going from her living room to the nearby bathroom requires a walker and the short exertion leaves her breathless. Almost two years ago, she was referred to Waypoint Home Care Program and was assigned a nurse, homemakers, and an LNA.
As we chatted, her nurse was busy with a health check, reviewing the detailed log Ritha keeps of her sugar and other health issues. Her medications are numerous. Her automatic pill reminder buzzed and she took the first of her daily regimen of medications. Donna, the nurse, brings the pill counter to the pharmacy every two weeks to be refilled for her.
Facing lots of challenges, Ritha said wistfully that sometimes it is overwhelming. “I feel like I’m watching somebody else’s life – sometimes you think life is difficult and then you step into something else and you go, oh – that time of my life was so good.”
The day began with the weekly visit from Donna. As we chatted, her LNR, Misty arrived to help with taking a shower. Ritha is supported by a comprehensive, caring and compassionate care team including homemakers, Ariel and Jessica, several days a week, each to do meal preparation, shopping, laundry, and cleaning. Waypoint coordinates other community services to assure Ritha’s needs are met: Meals on Wheels five days a week, Manchester Housing Authority working on getting Ritha a first-floor apartment, Home Health and Hospice providing physical therapy necessitated by a recent fall, and Mental Health working on some of the emotional issues associated with her mounting health problems. Donna also is trying to get some or her dental needs met.
After finishing her weekly assessment, Donna followed up with the other care team providers, confirming and making appointments, reporting on Ritha’s status and discussing her observations. Ritha’s days are regimented. In addition to the nurse and LNA appointments, she was scheduled for physical therapy at noon, her case manager was due at 1 pm and she added a doctor’s appointment at 4 pm, which Donna made that morning because of some issues regarding her diabetes.
Despite her mounting health problems, Ritha is a positive and proactive participant in her care plan. She has a bright, beautiful smile, laughs easily, is welcoming and looks forward to visits from her care team.
“Having these services available to me has helped me stay out of the hospital—has given me hope and joy. I never knew there were such services for people who need it.”
– Winter 2018
Stresses are high. Struggles are huge.
Families are worried.