A Mother’s Piece of Mind
Written by Joyce Anderson, Jon’s mom
When I was asked to share thoughts and stories about Jon’s caregivers for DSP week, I could not highlight just one because they work as a team -each playing a role in Jon’s life and well-being. Jon’s team of caregivers goes beyond their job descriptions to support him. They care a lot for my son and I appreciate each of them.
Wayne has been with Jon the longest. Due to Wayne’s patience and persistence, Jon has been able to make tremendous gains. Over the years, Wayne has worked hard at developing a trusting relationship with Jon. Jon depends on Wayne to support him when he attempts something new. Jon has not allowed anyone to cut his hair for a long time with the exception me, his mother. It was becoming increasingly important to me that Jon be able and willing to get his hair cut in a shop. A goal was set and we crossed our fingers. Wayne found a shop nearby and clued the beauticians in as to the situation. One of the beauticians said that she would be game to give it a try. On the designated time and day, loaded with a Coke and Doritos, an attempt to keep Jon’s mind on his two favorite foods rather than the scary idea of getting his hair cut by a stranger, Jon, Wayne, and I went to get THE HAIRCUT. It was decided ahead of time, that it might make the experience easier if Wayne got his hair cut as well. So in neighboring chairs the two guys got their haircuts. There was much teasing and laughing and Jon even agreed to share some of his Doritos with Wayne. I recently went into the same salon with Jon and his bother and Jon was greeted by the beauticians by name and with teasing, “Hey troublemaker! Do I get to cut your hair today?” Jon was apparently comfortable and responded back, “Yah! Whatever!”
When Jon was exhibiting an increased interest in going and doing things in the community, his team decided that bowling might be something Jon would be successful at. Wayne completed the necessary groundwork and Jon now bowls each Monday. He has progressed from bowling with Wayne and his behavior specialist, to regularly bowling with a group of men. Jon enjoys hanging out and cheering for his fellow bowlers. What a success!
If Wayne is the father-figure of Jon’s caregivers, then Ginger is the mother-figure. She takes care of Jon’s finances and makes sure he has what he needs. She organizes Jon’s belongings and rids Jon’s house of clutter. Not too long ago, curtains were altered and hung by Ginger which brightened up Jon’s place and made his home more attractive.
Ali is young, fun, and creative. When Ali came on board, Jon’s weekends suddenly became more interesting. Ali is not afraid to try new things and Jon is up for the adventure. She raised dollars and volunteered to take the CCRI Polar Plunge to support Jon and others served by CCRI. She also pushed Jon in a wheelchair in the Fargo Marathon! Ali also helped Jon make special Christmas treats. Ali brings new and exciting experiences into Jon’s life.
Melanie, the newest of Jon’s team, has been integral in getting Jon out and about in the evenings to socialize and try new things. From hosting meals at the house, to attending potlucks, birthday parties, and adult bible study; they are often on the go. With all these experiences, Jon has become more and more comfortable in new settings.The adult bible study has been a wonderful opportunity for Jon. There is a planned lesson and a craft/project and a snack provided. He loves the special attention that he receives on these evenings. The completed crafts are proudly displayed about his home.
One thing that I absolutely admire and treasure about Jon’s caregivers is the kindness and love that they shower on Jon. It is obvious that each of them wants the best for him and are willing to help him live a life that is full and interesting. I love the easy camaraderie that exists between them and the laughter that is often heard in Jon’s home. Our family is made to feel welcome in Jon’s home and we are informed frequently of what Jon has been up to and/or his state of health and mind. There is such a peace of mind, knowing that Jon is loved and well cared for.
Tell us your story about the DSPs in your life! Email your story and photos to ALarson@CreativeCare.org