Back home in Cedar Park they had their own little circle of nearby going-out places - a McDonalds, Walmart, Bank of America, Post Office, Walgreens.
And a Scott & White clinic.
Age started taking a toll and they spent more and more time at Scott & White trying to keep the old bods running. Then walking. Then walking with a cane. Four years ago Jerry fell and broke a hip. And traded his cane for a walker. A few weeks later, mom fell and broke a hip and got a walker of her own.
Age can be hard on even the nicest people. There were a few more falls, a few more broken bones (old bones are fragile). There were memory losses and near-falls when the 90-year-olds would forget they needed a walker and shouldn't try to do housework. Or go to the bathroom alone.
They started needing lots meds to control body chemistry. We learned about Medicare Part D and the donut hole.
If you've been visiting this blog, you've noticed a lack of recent photos, recent player profiles. I've only been to one Outlaws game in the past two seasons. That's because caring for the old folks expanded into a full time job. Wife Beverly and I have provided in-their-home caregivers for the folks, 24/7. We've been doing grocery shopping, mowing lawns, making pharmacy runs, transporting to doctor appointments, hiring-firing caregivers (I have some stories to tell). A highlight for us and them was taking the folks out to favorite restaurants or Christmas light tours. Or Starbucks - Jerry loved his coffee.
Their ability to get around declined. We started using part time wheelchairs to supplement the walkers. Then one day I wheelchaired Jerry to the car and started the transfer. The routine was to have him stand up, grasp the car door for balance while I pushed the wheelchair out of the way, and then aim his butt to the car seat. This day things went wrong. His legs just crumpled beneath him. I was able to catch him, slip my knee under him and keep him from falling. But his weakness and the limited space between car door and wheelchair made transfers to the car impossible.
Suddenly the outings were in jeopardy. My van couldn't accommodate a wheelchair. There are taxis that can but taxi fare is expensive and we aren't all that rich, especially when paying for caregivers. There are medical vans but they're pricier than cabs.
Enter Austin Mobility Solutions, a business on I-35 just north of the Pflugerville exit.
|Push the button on the remote and here comes the ramp.|
|An easy trip up the ramp because the van is|
"kneeling" toward the caregiver.
|The wheelchair is centered in the middle of|
the van and secured with special securement
hardware anchored to the floor and hooked
to the wheelchair frame. There's also a seat belt.
|Close up of the cassette that holds the securement strap and the hook|
connecting strap to wheelchair frame. Really easy to operate.