Caring Services For A Caring Person: Raising Awareness for ALS

Roy Mass giving a thumbs up in raising awareness for ALS
Roy Mass giving the camera a thumbs up in raising awareness for ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease for his loved wife Nicole.

Roy Mass knows what it is like to push through the pain when your mind tells you to stop. Like his previous grueling Ironman Triathalons, on race day he relied on his “bank” of training and his commitment to his wife Nicole. However, the race in Boulder, CO had a dramatic difference: Nicole wasn’t holding her artsy sign or cheering encouraging words.

“It was strange because I’ll never have her there with me again to support me,” Roy said. “I had motivation to race for her. On the run it boiled down to reminding myself I was doing it for Nicole.”

In fact, the words “For my Nicole,” were written on top of a blue rose on Roy’s jersey to raise awareness for ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Thankfully, with support from Abode Hospice & Home Health, Nicole’s deteriorating health did not keep her from watching Roy’s race.

“A Hospice volunteer and her husband spent all day cheering me on and taking pictures and videos,” Roy said. “They posted videos and pictures to my Facebook (page) throughout the race for Nicole to see while she was at home … Since Nicole couldn’t make a sign for me, I made a sign for her and at miles 7 and 19 I got to see the sign.”

Besides bringing community awareness of ALS during events such as Roy’s Ironman race, Abode has provided skilled nurses, certified nursing assistants (CNA), medical social workers, volunteers, and holistic, home healthcare services for Nicole.
As a fulltime, certified dietary manager in the Army, Roy relies on exceptional support, specialized, and loving care from Abode.
“When I was on 24-hour duty, Abode rotated someone through every hour to help me, from nurses to chaplains to social workers, “ Roy said. “Every hour, someone new came, just to make sure someone was in the house with Nicole. Volunteers kept Nicole company, just so I could get out of the house and work or get something done.”

For 24 years Roy and Nicole have built a life together. They have enjoyed fast-paced hockey games, strolls through the top zoos in the country, marveled at sceneries like Alaska, and explored other sweet spots coordinated around Roy’s racing plans.
Roy’s nearly 19-year stint in the Army often kept them apart, but Nicole made sure their marriage stayed solid.
“She (Nicole) always did a really great job taking care of people,” Roy said. “During my deployments, she would go to the dollar store to pickup little toys and send care packages every month, tailoring them around holidays. She knew what seasons she could send chocolate. She always sent another jar of peanut butter. She knew the soldiers’ favorites.”
Now, the tide has turned, and Abode is helping Roy take care of Nicole. Abode offers comfort, and relief to her body, mind and spirit. The Abode nurse comes out everyday to do physical assessments, wound care, order medical supplies, manage her pain and even paint her nails.“Abode manages her health needs very well,” Roy said. “They give her baths, help her get ready for bed and provide general hygiene. A specific volunteer comes out and reads to Nicole or they watch a movie with her and just talk.”
Nicole has developed friendships with Abode employees and everyone at Abode knows who she is and makes a positive difference in her life.

“Currently, Tracy the volunteer is reading the Wizard of Oz,” Roy said. “Nicole didn’t care for the first book. Tracy the volunteer, told Linda the nurse that she made a funny face; she didn’t like it. She also loves watching Minon and Whinny the Pooh.”
Before diagnosed with ALS, Nicole was working on her RN degree. She enjoyed scrapbooking, creating beautiful, handmade cards and taking care of her family.

“Nicole has had some great CNAs from Abode. Especially since it’s her field, Nicole knows right off the bat if the nurse knew what he or she was doing. Can’t fake competence with Nicole,” laughed Roy.
Roy and Nicole are thankful for Abode’s interdisciplinary teamwork and reliable communication skills.
“The biggest thing is Abode hospice can really reach out and help you in sticky situations,” Roy said. “They helped cover me until I got someone over one time, and they have a lot of resources that they can put you in touch with.”

To find out more about Abode Hospice services can benefit your loved on, contact us.

A Love Story-This is Hospice

Abode recently signed on a patient to our hospice services who lives with her husband of over 60 years in an Independent Living Community.  Their story is…between the loving husband and devoted wife: they make a whole.

Unexpectedly, the husband is now hospitalized.  Our patient is being cared for at home, by an adult son, with the support of Abode Hospice.  Ah yes, the adult son, now the primary caregiver, who also has his life challenges, quickly realizing that this is not an ideal situation.  Sound familiar?  In order to support him, and ensure that our patient receives the care needed in a safe, nurturing environment, we have arranged a respite stay.

This wife is hesitant to leave her home, worried that when her husband returns, that they will not be together again.  After 60+ years of wedded bliss and understanding her terminal diagnosis, there is nothing more important than being with her husband!

Thanks to our wonderful community partners and hospice team, we found a Care Community that is accepting the husband for rehab, and welcoming our patient to respite at the same time…all the while, staying together!

The couple will most likely transition to an Assisted Living apartment in this community, continuing their life journey, for the time they have left…being together.  We are honoring the final chapter of their Love Story!

THIS IS HOSPICE!

To make more love stories with Abode Hospice, contact us today!

Cowgirl Forever In Our Hearts

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Thanks 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.

When it’s more than a job…

Yes, it’s our job. Yes, we attended school to bring cutting-edge services to your doorstep, but it’s so much more than that. To say we are privileged to serve our families would be an understatement. Our families often don’t realize how special THEY are to us. While we are caring for a loved one, families are, in turn, blessing our staff. One of the greatest compliments we receive is when a patient’s family offers to help us with our mission. “PS — if there is ever a need I can help with, it’s yours. Please don’t hesitate to call.”

Abode Note