Home Care Chronicles: “So When are We Going?”


Her name was Helen Newhouse, a client my former home care company served on a 24/7 basis until her June 2003 death.  She did not live very far from my family so I visited her home often.  Plus she loved a gentlemanly ride to her favorite restaurant to kind of show off to her friends.  Speaking of that, here is quite the story…and yes its 100% true which I discuss in the Home Care Business Development & Operations Manual I revised in 2009.

Helen was in a nursing home for a year and felt trapped there and frustrated.  She accused her nephew of putting her there as a means to control her assets.  She hired her own attorney and arranged a discharge with care in her own home as the alternative.  On June 1, 2000, she returned to her former neighborhood.

Having been away from her favorite Hungarian restaurant for so long, she arrived back at home anxious to get back to it.  Many of her neighborhood acquaintances in her own generation gathered there regularly.  So on the first day she was to return I drove my dark blue Lincoln Town Car, had her to put on her mink stole and ride in the back seat.  We arrived, I opened the door for her under the carport as one of the aides walked her inside as her friends sitting around cheered her in.  After returning to the car for the ride home, Helen leaned from the back seat to say, “Mr. Bruce you are just bad, just plain bad,…thank you I love it!!”

I had become aware of her personality and I knew her pride had been damaged by the time she felt she spent in a nursing home unnecessarily.  I knew she felt the need for a little restoration of her dignity and I was happy to oblige.


So fast forward two, (2) years and I am on the phone in Helen’s living room, she is 15 feet away in the breezeway of the home watching television.  I was discussing an upcoming trip to Myrtle Beach with a relative and finalizing arrangements.  We laughed about how excited we were to be walking that beach soon.  As I headed through the breezeway to say goodbye for the day to Helen and staff, she quipped, “so when are we going?”  Yikes, for at least a second or two I was speechless and once I brought myself to where I could speak I replied, “in 2 weeks”.

Yes the photo you are viewing to your left is my late mother Dora on the left, one of my former home care aides Sharon in the middle and the late Ms. Helen Lovas-Newhouse with us all in Myrtle Beach on the right.  She talked about that trip until the day she died as though it outweighed every other exciting event in her nearly 90 years of life.

Obviously every circumstance will not be the same but I would like to think the best that the home care business has to offer is looking for ways to be more than a service provider, but an extension of a client’s family.  Its all about perspective and priorities!

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