The Call That Saved a Life

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A sweet man, soft spoken and kind, 72-year-old Dennis doesn’t want to be a burden to anyone, including his care team. CICOA care manager Kia Sease often reassures him that his needs are our priority, and it is never a burden to ensure he has proper care.

When Dennis answered the phone last December on a routine call, Kia immediately noticed a change in his voice that indicated he was very ill.

“How are you feeling?” she asked.

Dennis downplayed his illness, saying he had been battling a slight cold and had a sore throat, but other than that, just a little tired. Nothing to worry about here.

Knowing Dennis, Kia was skeptical and decided to take matters into her own hands. She called the home care company that provides Dennis with transportation, light housekeeping and some physical assistance. When the caregiver gets to the apartment today, she instructed, have them assess Dennis’s condition.

On a good day, Dennis has his share of troubles—thyroid issues, cellulitis, gout, diabetes and epileptic seizures, for starters—which is why he receives attendant care, home-delivered meals and a personal emergency response system. But on this day, the caregiver noted that Dennis was very weak and was covering for other health issues abnormal for him.

The caregiver called an ambulance. Dennis, with a 104-degree temperature, was transported to the hospital where he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and pneumonia. After a two-week hospital stay, he was moved to a nursing facility for an additional two weeks of rehab. On the day of his discharge, Kia coordinated with his caregiver to provide Dennis a ride home.

Today, Dennis is back to normal, watching sports on television and trying not to be a burden to anyone. Having never married, childless, and with his only brother living out of state, Dennis often depends on his caregiver and volunteers for rides and to meet his social and emotional needs.

Dennis’ story is a reminder that each day, older adults in our community face significant challenges but often won’t ask for help because they don’t want to burden others. Your support can make a huge difference for those in need right now and perhaps even save a life.

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