Nadeen was in serious jeopardy

Nadeen A. was one of the first clients Sandra Smith met when starting the Senior Companion Program in April, 2009. Nadeen was in need of socialization as her daughters and family that live in the area only visit sporadically or when they can take time out of their busy schedules. Once Sandra started to visit Nadeen, she quickly realized she needed more attention than she was getting. Nadeen had severe hearing issues, her current hearing aides were not working and no one was around Nadeen enough to even notice. Sandra began to take note of many issues Nadeen was struggling with and began to work on quality of life improvements for her.

Nadeen was in serious jeopardy of being sent to a Nursing Home for numerous reasons. She was forgetting to take her medications, confused on how to take them and/or she would fall asleep and thought she already took them. The food in her apartment fridge and cupboards was completely rotten to the point where bugs had started to take over. She also fell several times because she didn’t believe she needed to use her walker while at home. All of these reasons coupled with the lack of supervision at the senior building she was living in put Nadeen at huge risk.

Sandra’s visits started to provide a watchful eye and a helping hand. Sandra proactively took action and started to talk with Nadeen’s daughter who lived in Illinois as well as her two daughters that live in Minnesota. She updated them on Nadeens current situation and they brainstormed together on how to facilitate changes. They successfully moved Nadeen to a senior citizens gated community in Romeoville, Illinois where her eldest daughter currently resides. Although Nadeen was angry at first of her life being uprooted, she is now very happy and welcomes the change. She lives a much more productive life in the senior community because she is able to socialize more often and attend community activities more readily. Nadeen recognizes that if it had not been for her Senior Companion volunteer, her situation could have been much different. Nadeen and Sandra still communicate via telephone and letters which shows how close a connection can be make from simple friendly visits.

Sandra currently visits 8 clients; although she comments that she keeps in contact with all of the clients she has ever been introduced to. “[All my clients] are different and they each bring something exciting to my life. I am blessed to have all of them in my life. I definitely think we are making a big difference with them because even the ones with family – the family members don’t have time to even just listen to them or do activities with them – that’s what we are here for”. Sandra is also grateful that serving with the Senior Companion Program has helped her find other things in the community to be connected with that she wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise.

-Sandra Smith