Current Caregiving Stories

A Daughter Insists That Mom Come Home for Care: Frances Maliska and Her Mom

Catherine has lived with her daughter, Frances Maliska, since 1991. In good health at the time, she moved there for the comfort and companionship of family after her husband passed away, and was able to maintain her active lifestyle with good friends.

A year ago, Catherine’s health took a turn for the worse when she began getting headaches and discovered that a serious health issue that had been treated years ago had re-emerged in one eye. She was hospitalized and then entered a nursing home for rehabilitation and the possibility of a long-term stay. Fran was determined to find in-home care support as an alternative to long-term nursing home care, stating, “I’ll find the information and education I need to be able to care for my mother.”

 

Professional and Family Teamwork Gives Catherine the Choice of Home

The family struggled to provide care until July 2009, when they contacted long-time family attorney, Kate Downes who specializes in elder law. Kate helped to bring about information and assistance from CGH Program Manager Natasha Heimrath and Hudson Council on Aging Social Worker, Renee Grenier. Fran says that Natasha provided the gentle nudging to “get going to get those papers in.” and that Natasha “became the advocate that we needed.” They all worked as a team to help with the paperwork to qualify Catherine for MassHealth Frail Elder Waiver and for Caregiver Homes.

An extra bonus for Catherine was when Tracy Ryan, her personal care assistant, arranged to change her role to companion through a service offered by the Frail Elder Waiver. Catherine also continues to receive Meals on Wheels, and Frances is looking into Adult Day Health to help keep social activities in her mom’s life. Fran’s husband, Jim Roberts, designed and built the wheelchair ramps that allow easy access for Catherine and that helped qualify the home as part of the CGH admission process. Their story is a wonderful example of service providers and family working together to arrange for the care needed for a client.

The Buscemi family believes in a close family social unit and the importance of respecting and looking after elderly parents. Fran’s siblings, Rose, Vin, Ray and Tony help to maintain the family atmosphere. Fran feels fortunate that Kate introduced her to Caregiver Homes, the program that made it possible for her to care for her mother and says, “We were finding it increasingly difficult, and CGH helped us with that. I have fun with my mother and I can’t say enough about how this program has afforded me the opportunity to enjoy her companionship.” Fran’s husband, Jim, who supports her with her mom’s care, agrees and says, “We are all about each other, and that’s the important thing!”

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