‘The answer to my prayers’
When Rhonda Hicks first realized her mother, Hazel Thomas, was suffering from dementia, she took over her care, but had little idea what she was getting into.
“I didn’t realize all of the things my mother had been doing for the last 40 years ... so many different doctors, different places,” she says. “It literally took me two weeks and I would have to take a vacation from work so that I could take her to all of these different places.”
|Rhonda Hicks and her mother, Hazel Thomas
Rhonda says she knew her mother needed care, but had never faced this situation.
“I didn’t have the foggiest idea of what to do,” she says, noting she was trying to take care of her mother, work and look after her own family.
“When we found Via Christi HOPE, it was really a burden lifted. Most people think, if they are like me at all, ‘We can handle it. That’s my mom. No one knows her like me. No one can care for her like me.’ ”
Rhonda wants adult children like her to know that, while you need to provide proper care for your parents, it is almost impossible to do it on your own. “It really took a toll on my health and my anxiety levels,” she explains.
Much to Rhonda’s delight, Via Christi HOPE is a one-stop shop.
“If I need to talk to a physical therapist, one is here,” Rhonda says. “The nurses are here. Home health is here. The day center is here. The pharmacy is here.”
Her mother wears eyeglasses, so HOPE manages her eye doctor appointments and also takes her to the dentist.
“It really empowers me to be the primary caregiver and just be with my mom. And I know that all day, and even when she has home care until 10 o’clock at night, she is taken care of.”
Rhonda appreciates how the HOPE staff members develop a personal relationship with her mother, right down to the bus driver.
“They learn her mannerisms and what type of day she is going to have right off when they come to the front door. They really do know her. That is priceless when you actually know the person you are serving. I think that really increases the level of care.”