Woodstock Area Job Bank

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“Aging at home” has become the new catch phrase to describe the preference many senior citizens have to stay at home instead of moving to a retirement community or (even less desirable) into a nursing home. It may be a new phrase but it is not a new desire. My grandfather, Papa, fought bitterly until the very end to stay in the house he built. For Papa, the end was inevitable. There were no services to bring him meals, no visiting nurses to come, or senior center to offer activities and companionship. Papa died angry and alone in a nursing home.

Even at 10, I knew that was not a good way to die. I thought my other grandparents were smarter. They sold their big house when I was little and moved to a modest, two-bedroom, single story-ranch in what would today be called an “over 55” community. Later, they moved to the Pennick Home— a retirement community with progressive care.

As a child it sounded like Wid and Charlie were the ones who made a solid plan for their older years. I thought they met death on their own terms, making practical decisions along the way.

The Pennick Home was six hours away from us and my mother was their only child. My grandmother died soon after the move. Charlie was completely deaf and my mother couldn’t visit often. He also died alone.

I completely understand the desire to find a way to stay at home, in a place that you know, with family or at least friends nearby. Whatever it takes: ramps, rides, care assistance, stairlifts, handles in the shower, personal shoppers…a patchwork puzzle of services with one purpose: to die with grace in your own home.

The Job Bank can help, too. We have people who do the oddest of jobs— change the refrigerator filter, decorate your Christmas tree, bake your special cookies for your favorite grandchild’s birthday….

One day in February, I received a request from Jenny. She was knitting a scarf for her granddaughter and things weren’t going well.

“I am a knitter.” Jenny proclaimed, “I have always been a knitter, but now the stitches just fall off. I know this will be my last project. But, my granddaughter, she asked me to knit it. I just want to finish. I want it to be nice.”

I, too, am a knitter and I know knitters. I assured Jenny that I would find someone to help her. In our database, I found Anne.

Two weeks later, the Job Bank received this note.

Dear Beth,
Thank you for sending my knitting angel to me. Anne came to my home everyday and we made a beautiful scarf for my granddaughter. We knit together. When I made a mistake, Anne would make it right again. Tomorrow, my son is taking me to the knit shop in town, to find the perfect baby-blue yarn to make a little sweater for my new great grandson.

It’s not only the big things that matter. Home is home because of a myriad of tiny little moments.

Until next week,
Beth Crowe

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