Woodstock Area Job Bank

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A few months ago, everything changed for Rita and Tom.  Up until October, they had been enjoying retirement— gradually slowing down.  Rita didn’t drive any more, but that wasn’t a big issue because Tom did and he was happy to drive her anywhere she wanted to go. In October, Tom got cancer.  The cancer was aggressive, required  surgery and a long stay in rehab.  Tom and Rita have several loving children but their children live far from Woodstock. Tom and Rita have many friends but their friends are also getting older. So they turned to the Job Bank during Tom’s long hospital stay to find a driver for Rita so that she could make the long trek to visit with her husband every day.

Now Tom is coming home. His recovery will be long.  Tom is upbeat, determined, and cheerful, but worried and confused. It’s overwhelming.  They will need to find a fleet of helpers (both volunteer and paid) to make everything work.  They will need to coordinate all of these services while adjusting to a new kind of life together.  A simple trip to the grocery store has now become a complicated dance of scheduling.

When Peter, their oldest son, called the Job Bank from Denver, he was feeling lost and looking for help. “Well,” he said, “Mom and Dad will definitely need someone for overnights, someone to help getting Dad up and bathed and ready for his day, someone to get him to rehab.  That could be one person but probably not.  They will need someone else to drive Mom, unless she is going to be housebound as well.  So, at a minimum two people.  Oh, but wait, they will need backup, too, because if one of the caretakers calls in sick, someone would still have to come; and someone else I guess to help with the household stuff.  Dad used to do a lot around the house.”

Fortunately, the Job Bank has had a few people come in recently looking to offer elder care. Fortunately, the Job Bank had a few names to offer for driving.  Fortunately, the Job Bank has  “Bit Time” workers who might be able to attend to the household chores.   I sent Peter a referral with the various contacts I had  along with a list of other agencies and groups in the area that might be able to help.

I would like to say Tom and Rita’s story is unique— it isn’t.  No one is prepared for illness to strike.   There is a lot of help available, but no one group does it all. It’s not a simple system for anyone to navigate.

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