Long-distance care giver grateful for team-based support

November 26, 2019

After her daughter’s work took her to California, “Bets” Lawrence found great support from Housecall Providers, including Spiritual Care Counselor Dean Yamamoto.

Anne Betsey Lawrence, or “Bets” as she likes to be called (in honor of her maternal grandmother) is a natural storyteller. Sitting in her warm and cozy room at Golden Age Adult Care Home, you can’t help but get caught up in the story of her life – her adventurous childhood exploring the hills and valleys of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, her long career as a beloved high school history teacher, the time she lost part of a finger in a skeet shooting accident.

She speaks with passion and clarity about her appreciation of coffee (with lots of milk), her love for her last cat (who was very smart), and her gratitude for the Housecall Providers team who helps care for her.

Now in her mid-80s, Bets has a more laidback lifestyle, but she remains the same independent person who, as a young girl, used to sneak into the stables near her home to ride polo ponies bareback in the moonlight. Gesturing to the pictures of horses posted above her bed, she notes that while she never owned a horse herself, she always “took advantage of every opportunity” to practice her riding.

As she grew older, it made sense for Bets to relocate from Hawaii to Oregon to live with her eldest daughter, Dale Lawrence, who has long been a primary source of support. But when work called Dale to California, Bets had to rely on her grandchildren to help her get to her doctor’s appointments, a tough arrangement for the whole family.

“It was always so difficult to get mom to the doctor,” says Dale. “Her grandkids would have to take time off work to bring her in, and it was hard to stay in the loop with other medical providers, especially since I live so far away.”

Both Dale and Bets are grateful to have primary care provider, Kelly Fromuth, FNP visit Bets where she lives. “I’m very, very glad when Kelly comes to see me,” says Bets. “She always takes my blood pressure, and you know she’s doing it right because the cuff is nice and tight, and she sends the info to my daughter down in California.”

For Dale, knowing that she has the support of not just Kelly, but spiritual care advisor Dean Yamamoto and social worker Sarah Jo Tomlin has made a big difference. Earlier this year, the team pulled together to help get Bets a new adjustable hospital bed with a firm mattress. “My other bed was too soft – I fell out of it and banged my head. Dale says we’re just renting this one, but I like it, so I told her I’m going to keep it!”

While being a long-distance caregiver can be challenging for both Dale and Bets, having the wrap-around support of the Housecall Providers team makes it easier for everyone, and helps Bets maintain her characteristic independence. “I really appreciate that Kelly checks in with me whenever she changes one of my mom’s meds,” says Dale. “This has been such a wonderful opportunity to have mom cared for at home.”

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