“I’m just relieved to know I have someone I can call.” – Irene LaCesa
Two years ago, Irene didn’t think she had anyone to call. Her daughter lives out of town, so after Irene’s husband Jim fell three times in one day, she could not get him up again. Her only option was to call the Barrington Fire Department for help.
After taking care of the immediate emergency, the BFD could see that the LaCesas needed ongoing support and knew the best place to call: Bacoa. Social Services Director Sue McNamara immediately paid a visit to the home to assess their needs.
As often happens with family caregivers, Irene became so focused on caring for Jim and trying to ‘do it all’ that her own health began to suffer. Sue arranged for a volunteer to handle small tasks around the house while she found ways to save the couple money by reviewing their property tax bills, applying for missed exemptions, and reviewing insurance bills. She also arranged for a caregiver through the Community Care Program and ordered necessary medical equipment.
Bacoa volunteer George Peirce changed lightbulbs and smoke detector batteries, and Sue reports that the BFD and Barrington Police Department worked together to make it safe for the couple to stay in their home.
Two years later, the LaCesas’ needs have changed, and Bacoa has been with them every step of the way. As Jim’s stability weakened and the couple’s physical capabilities declined, Sue and George moved beds from the second floor to convert the living room into a cozy bedroom with easy access to the kitchen and bathroom.
No longer driving, Irene and Jim now receive rides to medical appointments from George, while Sue continues to coordinate schedules with volunteers, doctors, and caregivers. Eventually, it became clear Jim needed assisted living, and Bacoa helped their daughter find and select a facility where both could live.
Everything was set until COVID-19 upset the plans. Quick to adapt and find new solutions, Sue helped their daughter arrange for free community care in combination with a home care agency to cover the gaps while minimizing costs. Sue and George did grocery and personal shopping for the couple, and Sue continues to work with Jim’s physician to arrange additional home health services, medication management, and physical therapy.
Meals With Wheels deliveries have doubled, and she helped them change their prescription drug plan to save more than $1,000 annually. Once it becomes safe to move, Irene and Jim can complete their plans and move to their new home—together.
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