By Marsha M. Brown
A few weeks ago, the daughter of a local veteran sought to find temporary, adequate, trustworthy help to take care of her father while she, her spouse and children would be out of town for a week. The initial inquiry had come through our Dare County Veteran Service Officer’s phone upon which Patty, our Veteran Service Officer (V.S.O.) promptly investigated which in turn resulted in a successful outreach for his temporary in-home care during their absence. The gentleman was wheelchair bound and primary needs were to help him transfer from his chair to his bed and vice versa, preparing light meals and to basically oversee that his needs would be met. The daughter who obviously loved her Dad was dedicated to the task of not just finding someone…but someone who would be kind, dependable and responsible. To summarize, someone who loves seniors, who has a tremendous respect for veterans and who happened to be available agreed with the compensation offered and everything worked out exactly right! The daughter and her family were able to leave confident that her Dad would be in good hands; that regular contact would naturally occur between herself, her Dad and the caregiver and the arrangement was pleasantly carried out as hoped. All started out well and ended well too and it resulted in an enjoyable experience for everybody.
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The quest to help find a suitable attendant for a family member was a challenge in that the need is real and because families do not always know who to call on in a situation like that. The important requirement of safely transferring a patient from one platform to another is crucial. Unless a doctor orders in-home care or Home Health Services or Hospice, our outstanding Dare County Health Department cannot assist in a case like this and they do not recommend individuals who are not vetted through their agency or who are not employees for obvious reasons, the safety and well-being of the individual in need. On occasion, the Health Department is contacted by individuals who are interested in similar inquires…however…seldom are assistants able or willing to commit to 24/7 in-home care situation for a week at the time.
My point is this…if you are the wife, husband or other family member interested in caring for your veteran loved one at home, the VA Caregiver Program provides compensation to enable an eligible veteran to be cared for (in lieu of a nursing home or assisted living facility scenario) and the stipends are not considered taxable income according to my research on this topic. This service is greatly needed in many cases especially long-term care so that the veteran can remain in his/her home with loved ones or when their primary caregiver is away. Obviously, the family assistant who cares for them would likely find it difficult if not impossible to work another job to produce income outside of the home, so the potential arrangement is a blessing. If you are interested in more information on this topic, please call Patty O’Sullivan’s office phone (252) 475-5604 and leave a detailed voice message as office hours are limited due to COVID-19; if you would like to inquire by email, write to Patty at [email protected]
I understand there are places away from here that offer a two-week class to help prepare folks interested in proper techniques to transfer patients etc. so I am currently seeking additional information and particulars on that subject. In fact, I have contacted the College of the Albemarle to determine if they might consider a class such as that for individuals who are not interested in obtaining a RN, LPN or even a Certified Nursing Assistant certification but who might desire tips, tricks and instruction on proper moves to avoid back injuries etc. I have made several calls and I anticipate follow up which I will share with you within the next GIG LINE or two as available to keep you posted.
Speaking of C.O.A., it was sad to see the demise of our old Manteo High School, later Manteo Middle School to accommodate for the new C.O.A. Campus and Administrative Offices, however…it’s going to be such a wonderful addition to our community, educational opportunities, and a means for students who are interested in furthering their education locally. Every time I have reached out to C.O.A. Dean Tim Sweeney, his assistant Michelle and other staff affiliated with C.O.A., I have been provided valuable information and guidance. They all seem to have a sincere commitment to offer great educational benefit to our students but also to those (like me) interested in taking Continuing Education classes. They’re open to hearing suggestions for class options and they’re supportive to our veteran community too! If you are active duty, retired or military dependent, you may want to pursue information regarding benefits toward class expenses…so, check it out! If you don’t currently know what class you might want to take, review their website, and see the broad variety of class options. You can contact them by phone: (252) 473-2264 or at their current physical address: 132 Russell Twiford Rd., Manteo, N.C. 27954, (the campus close to CVS in Manteo) closed from December 24 – January 1, 2021. I suggest you call them before making the drive to determine any unexpected office hour changes before and after the holidays due to COVID. As you may know, the groundbreaking ceremony at the old Manteo High School for the new campus was scheduled to take place on Thursday, December 10, 2020. If you were unable to attend, look for it on YouTube. This undertaking is exciting for all of us! Yay!
Sometimes folks overlook or don’t consider opportunities to broaden our horizons…I mean, gee whiz, you never stop learning unless you choose to, right? As long as we’re still ‘right side up’, let’s keep learning, growing, and passing long what we learn to others. Plus, when the COVID vaccine kicks in and social distancing subsides (hopefully), attending classes will be a great way to re-connect with old friends and afford a chance to meet new friends too! I for one am considering taking some classes myself! Golly day…if you have a son or daughter, grandchildren or any other relative who might enjoy engagement with C.O.A. programs, consider gifting them with a class or books etc. Wouldn’t that be a great gift surprise?
Until next time, be happy, safe, proud, and thankful! We are blessed…even in this pandemic mess. You know what they say…” Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings, see what God has done!” Take care everybody! My suggestion? wear your mask when needed but breath in that fresh, clean Outer Banks air whenever you’re away from others! If you would like to call me (252) 202-2058 or email me: [email protected] You ALL are special folks and I love each one of you. Stay tuned and God bless!