Cowgirl Forever In Our Hearts

14715688_1785946188330728_2735277889522117544_oThanks to Abode Hospice, 89-year-old Ruth is living her final days surrounded by family and friends. Ruth counts the hospice team members among those friends. Such relationships are possible because Abode’s caring professionals believe in the simple Golden Rule. “We treat others the way we want to be treated.”

Abode Hospice provides a full range of services to ensure that Ruth has everything she needs to be comfortable at Forest Ridge, the skilled nursing facility where she resides. This includes an expert registered nurse for symptom management, a chaplain for spiritual support, a social worker for emotional and community support, a certified nursing assistant for companionship and personal care, and volunteers for additional TLC. Abode staff members consider themselves extensions of Ruth’s family and the Forest Ridge staff. “Our goal as an agency is to team up with the facilities we work with in order to provide the best care possible for our patients and families.”

“I am very happy and blessed to have Abode come in and work with Ruth,” says Mary Ann, Ruth’s surrogate daughter. Ruth never had children, but considers MaryAnn her own. “Ruth was that extraordinary person I was blessed to have in my life,” says Mary Ann, “She did extra special things with me. My first train ride to New York and first play.” MaryAnn called in hospice upon learning she would be in Maryland for 7 weeks taking care of Ruth’s estate. “I wanted Ruth to have an extra level of care and ensure health professionals would be looking in on her frequently.”

Abode provided Ruth with that care, and went above and beyond what many other hospices would have done. Before moving from Maryland, Ruth told friends she was going West in search of a cowboy with a Palomino horse. So, when Mary Ann expressed an interest to take Ruth on a equestrian outing, the Abode team proceeded to check out what options were available. With that information Mary Ann contacted a local guest ranch and set a date. As an example of the extra care and concern shown by Abode, they made all the arrangements for a very special day including transportation and a delicious picnic lunch. Ruth’s caretakers made her wheelchair into an “all-terrain” vehicle, pushing her out into the pasture. There she spent much of the afternoon with a beautiful Palomino pony named Vanilla Oreo. She got such pleasure feeding carrots to this gentle horse under the attentive care of an authentic handsome Colorado cowboy.

Ruth spent her time on the ranch cuddled in a plaid comforter with a genuine smile on her face and a horse nuzzling his face next to hers. A “therapeutic day” for all lives touched by Ruth; a remarkable woman who used to ride horses bareback, speed across the river on her water skis,  corner tight turns on her motor bike and at 50+ years of age, took karate lessons. Her body and mind may have failed her, but there is no shortage of support from loved ones and her healthcare “cheerleaders” helping her enjoy life to its fullest.

What’s the takeaway message from Ruth story? When family is faced with the responsibility of caring for a failing loved one, it’s okay, and even admirable, to ask for help. Though the word hospice is often interpreted in a negative fashion, in reality hospice services can provide positive benefits that help people live their days with comfort, respect and dignity. To find out more about hospice and how Abode hospice services can benefit your loved one, please contact us.