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When There’s No Place Like Home

Susan Heintzelman awoke one early Christmas Eve morning to a beautiful, starlight sky. While retrieving the morning paper, this active woman who “never falls” tumbled down a flight of stairs. She lay with both legs crumpled beneath her on the cold pavement.

“I knew right away at least one of my ankles was broken,” Susan reported. It was 30 degrees out as she waved at passing cars to no avail, until a San Francisco Chronicle deliveryman called 9-1-1. “It was so cold,” joked Susan, “it helped numb the pain.”

After emergency surgery and a day of recovery at the hospital, Susan quickly focused on going home. “I went home with friends for a day, but they were scheduled to go out of town. In fact, all my friends were out of town or leaving for the holidays!“

A call to Pathways Private Duty at 9:00 a.m. on a Friday set in motion a plan which had Susan home by 1:30 in the afternoon. Susan was thrilled. “It was amazing they could respond so quickly during a holiday and they made me comfortable right away.”

“The team at Pathways Private Duty often fills in for the absence of family or friends by providing home care professionals to help with essential activities for short or extended periods,” said Nancy Ruma, Vice President of Pathways Private Duty.

“Being in my own home allowed me to be connected to my friends, my neighbors, my life,” explained Susan. “In someone else’s home or a nursing home, I didn’t feel free to make phone calls, work or have people drop by. I needed to be connected to the people in my life.”

Pathways caregivers organized Susan’s apartment for a safe convalescence, shopped, prepared meals, and helped her with personal care. “We take so many things for granted,” said Susan.

Susan’s friends and neighbors returned and she said goodbye to her Pathways Private Duty team after 13 days. “Susan is so unbelievably positive,” says Nancy. “Our staff would go back in a second!”


A Daughter’s Courageous Journey

Kathy began to notice that her mother, Geraldine, had increasing trouble solving problems as she cared for her ill husband.  After the death of her father, Kathy’s mother became increasingly confused and was eventually diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s.

Kathy started home care assistance on an intermittent basis for her mother, but after an incident where her mother wandered away one day, she decided to take her mother home to live with her in Sacramento. Although Kathy had hoped that living with her mother would allow her to provide the care she needed, Geraldine became even more disoriented and restless.

At that point, Kathy decided it was time to look into full-time care in her mother’s own home, where she might be less anxious. After reviewing her options, Kathy called Pathways Private Duty. Geraldine has received around the clock care for the past 8 years. The caregivers maintain a wonderful rapport with both mother and daughter, giving both peace of mind that Geraldine’s needs are being met.

Kathy attributes her peace of mind to the “supportive care she receives and the Private Duty staff doing the best job they could for her.”