NORMA WILLIAMS’ FAMILY SHARES HER MEMORY CARE AMERICA STORY Sharing Your Stories
“You have no idea that you’re going to be in the position of caregiver for your mom,” says Norma Hemphill of Converse, Texas. Her mother, Norma Williams, was diagnosed with cancer shortly after Hemphill’s retirement in May 2013. After Williams defeated cancer, her youngest daughter approached Hemphill, concerned about their mom’s mental well- being.
While it’s great not having your nose to the grindstone nine-to-five, leaving work also means leaving behind a lot of daily activities and social interaction. Eventually, having nothing but free time goes from relaxing to isolating, and that can be dangerous to your physical and mental health. When planning for retirement, it’s important to plan ways to stay active and engaged. Joining a new organization or club can be a huge benefit. Here are a few suggestions to help you stay active in retirement. Enjoy Your Hobbies Did you spend years dreaming about hitting the golf course every day? While it can be nice to spend some time alone on the green, consider joining a golfers club if you want to mix things up. Enjoy scrapbooking? Check for get-togethers at the craft shop. If you’ve always wanted to try pottery, look for a class at the rec center. It’s easy to find groups dedicated to just about any activity. Get Involved Think of the causes you’re passionate about and get involved! Animal shelters and soup kitchens are always looking for volunteer help. Book lovers of all ages can join their local Friends of Libraries chapter. To make a difference through politics, help with fundraisers or join an active campaign. If you want to stay closer to home, check out your local homeowners association. There are plenty of ways to engage with like- minded people while making a difference. Try Something New Don’t know where to start when looking for a group to join? Start online! Try searching “groups for retirees” and see what comes up. You might discover a travel group and start planning your trip to Asia. Or maybe you’ll have more fun mentoring young people in your professional field. Don’t be afraid to spend your retirement doing something new! There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your alone time, but don’t let your alone time turn into a lonely retirement. Joining a group can help you broaden your social circle, stay active, and maybe even learn something new about yourself. CLUBS: NOT JUST FOR HIGH SCHOOL The Best Way to Stay Active in Retirement
Eventually, Hemphill says, the family learned that Williams was living with dementia. Hemphill recalls her once-diligent mother forgetting to mail utility checks, walking around her building at night, and going to work after she was retired.
But for a woman who devoted her life to her work, her career was hard to give up. Even in her mid-80s, Williams would walk to her job at Julian Gold. One day, Hemphill saw Williams was tasked with removing staples and clips from papers that were to be shredded, and while it was a job that
Hemphill, a human resource expert, knew was very tedious, Williams was set on perfecting it. She was always a meticulous, hardworking, and well- dressed woman who was dedicated to others, Hemphill says. When a concerned security guard told Williams’ family that she was walking around at night, the family decided their devoted mother needed help. After a trial period at one of her son’s homes, Williams moved into an assisted living facility for the next two years. The family appreciated the care their mom was given, but as her health began to decline, she was in need of more specialized care. After learning their favorite staff member was leaving for Memory Care America, Williams' family decided it was time to move their mom, too, and they knew just where to go. “It was clean, friendly, resilient; it’s just gorgeous. It was very refreshing to know we don’t need to worry. [The staff tells us,] ‘She’s okay. We’re taking good care of her.’ When we moved her in, she told my sister, ‘Don't touch anything! Don’t touch anything!’” Hemphill recalls with a little laugh regarding seeing Memory Care of Westover Hills. “She was just in awe. She was very, very impressed with the facility, as well.” More than a year after her move to Memory Care of Westover Hills, Williams has been shown nothing but care, Hemphill says. Even her smallest needs — such as labeling her clothes — have been attended to, and everyone, from the support staff and the nurses to the top executives, has given Williams the care and attention she deserves. If you would like to be featured in our newsletter or if you know a family that could benefit from our services, please call 833-MEM-CARE (636- 2273) or visit MemoryCareAmerica.com. Don’t keep our work a secret; referrals are the best compliment you can give us.
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