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Home Health Stories

Independence with a Little Help from Pathways

Sylvia van Zweeden has always been independent. A hard working single mother, she raised two daughters and bought her own house 30 years ago. When Sylvia turned 28 years of age, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and by the time she was 36 she was using crutches to get around. Within 12 years, she was confined to a wheel chair and had to leave her full-time work.

“I was around 48 years of age when I started to need someone to come in and help me do things,” said Sylvia. “You don’t like to think you are that disabled or that handicapped. I hated having to ask for help because I felt too young to need that kind of help.”

Pathways Hospice had cared for her father, and when Sylvia was complaining about the quality of care she was receiving from her current home health agency, her mother suggested Pathways Home Health. Eight years later, Sylvia and her Pathways team continue to work together to maintain her busy life with dignity and independence.

Ever ambitious, Sylvia now operates an income tax preparation service from home. Three days a week Guadalupe Corona, a Pathways Home Health Aide, visits Sylvia’s home and helps prepare Sylvia for her day.  When Sylvia describes her relationship with Guadalupe, she smiles widely. She has been caring for Sylvia for almost seven years, and they have an obvious routine.

“Pathways makes it so I can get up in the morning and run my life,” explains Sylvia. “Guadalupe washes my hair, makes me breakfast, gives me a bath, and helps me dress. She gets me ready for my day so I can conduct my business. In essence she prepares me for a day’s work.”

The care Sylvia receives from Pathways also takes the pressure off her family. Her husband, equally busy with running his own business, is able to leave for work in the morning knowing that she will be cared for.  Her two daughters and five grandchildren all who live nearby also feel more confident knowing that Pathways will be there to help.

“Everybody I come in contact with at Pathways is very understanding,” exclaimed Sylvia. “They make me feel like a human being. Often their visits seem more like a friend coming by and helping, rather than it being their job.  Pathways makes it possible for me to feel that independence again.”