98-year-old Hilvie Ostrow lived in Golden Valley for 32 years with her husband, Aaron. When he passed away in 1997, she remained in their home until 2010 before moving into Becketwood, a senior living cooperative in Minneapolis with some hesitation. “She didn’t want to leave her home,” says Laurel Ostrow, Hilvie’s oldest daughter. “But it didn’t take long for her to realize how much living at there would have to offer. Shortly after her moving in, I reminded her of her initial hesitation to be there, but she didn’t even remember saying that to me,” she laughs. “She has made many friends and it has been a really wonderful place for mom. She remains independent and living in a setting where there are many opportunities for socializing. Everybody there is very loving and supportive and it is an emotionally and intellectually vibrant atmosphere,” adds Laurel.
Laurel is a nurse educator. Her sister, Linnea is a Registered Nurse also. About two years ago, along with their brother Paul, they thought their mom could use some assistance with her weekly routine to keep her safe. After talking it over, they decided to start looking at home care options to assist with their mom’s daily needs.
They found a homecare agency that would provide an aide three days per week – Hilvie liked her very much but after the company changed its policy to require the minimum service level to be eight hours per day, they decided they had to start looking for something else. Hilvie didn’t need eight hours of care per day and her kids believed there would be a lot of waste with that kind of commitment. Linnea soon found NeighborCare, a new kind of solution to helping seniors remain independent.
NeighborCare does not have a minimum time requirement and has provided relief that even the other home care agency wasn’t providing. The 24-hour support that comes with an emergency call system has provided just the security Laurel and her siblings need. Hilvie has yet to use the button, but just knowing it is there has provided a sense of peace knowing her mom can alert someone at all hours of the day. Laurel is now able to turn her phone off at night and she’s sleeping better.
NeighborCare professional, Gail, has been practicing with Hilvie and showing her how to use the emergency call system. When Laurel recently asked her mom about NeighborCare, she said she felt like she was in good hands and stated her caregiver is able to easily assess what needs to be done, helps her out and then leaves her to carry on with her day. They’ve even had time to enjoy a little singing together. Hilvie recently played a Lutheran hymn on her piano while Gail sung along.
Before NeighborCare, Laurel says she had a feeling that she was always on call. “Even though we are both Registered Nurses by trade, my sister and I want to simply be her daughters. We will always be there to care for her as we need to, but when we are with her, we want to be able to discuss what’s going on in the world, what’s happening with the grandkids and allow mom to simply be mom,” adds Laurel. “It’s the basic things that we don’t have to worry about doing for her. My brother and I used to spend time ordering her groceries and it actually made her less independent because we were just taking care of everything for her. Now she works with NeighborCare to coordinate her own grocery order. This actually makes her more independent and she can just be mom when she talks to us. She doesn’t have to discuss what she is going to eat for the week.”
Laurel’s family has peace knowing her mom is living the life her father would have wanted and feels she is well cared for at all times. “My dad worked very hard his entire life to provide for our mom and our family,” Laurel adds. “I think he would be very proud to know that we are still taking such good care of her.”