On August 27th a call came into the Disaster Case Management office in Joplin, from a lady who had been living in the Jackson Street Nursing Home on May 22, 2011. The facility was destroyed by the tornado and caller explained that she had lost what little she had and had been relocated to Buffalo, Missouri where she had been staying with relatives. Her family became unable to care for her beyond that and she had been moved back to Joplin where she was staying at the Joplin Health & Rehabilitation facility.
She was calling because she had been asked to leave the facility and she had nowhere else to turn. She was unhappy at the thought of having to leave Joplin again. Her sister is the only other family that she had near her home town, and with the sisters failing health, she was unable to care for the lady. The Red Cross Long Term Recovery team assigned a caseworker to help as an advocate for her with the nursing home.
When Jenny, the caseworker, went to visit her the first time she realized that the lady, wheelchair bound, had really been struggling and was very sad and disgruntled after all she had been through over the past year. What she needed was a friend, someone who cared and was willing to listen. Jenny visited with her that day and found out that she had no clothes that were here own. Working through the Disaster Case Management Program, Jenny got her some clothes. She then continued to be her advocate for relocation to a new “forever home.”
About 30 days later, Jenny closed this case. Her client had been given clothes of her very own and had been relocated to a new care facility very near her sister. Jenny went in to visit her at the new location and was happy to see the lady working with one of the staff on some exercises she could do from her wheelchair. “She had a smile” said Jenny “To see her smiling back at me was the best thank you I could have ever gotten. Knowing that something I had been able to do for this lady had made a difference is a wonderful feeling.” Jenny had a tear in her eye when she said “the case may be closed, but I will continue to visit her, because that’s what friends do.”
Sometimes people change your life as much or more than you change theirs. Have YOU changed a life today with your smile?