Cela DeGamba - Keep on Performing "Care at Home and Beyond"

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posted by Ryan Whittington on December 23, 2010

I recently spent some time with one of my favorite clients. Cela is 90 yrs old and full of life —a real fireball. Cela was a classical violinist whose concert career took her all over the world.

There are many things that make Cela special—her sense of humor, her ability to keep up with current events, her fierce determination to live every day and her courage to never give up.

At age 79, Cela purchased a long term care insurance policy to assist her in her frail years and to aid her in her quest to be independent as long as possible. Cela's idea of life is to keep shopping till "The Day I Die". She pays $6,000 per year for the policy.

After a few years, Cela had the need for home care services. She developed severe arthritis and had a knee replacement. Macular Degeneration developed leaving Cela legally blind. This was extremely troublesome for Cela as her life's desire is to be as active and independent as possible.
Without sight, Cela could no longer drive and she was dependent on others. Cela's idea of life is to keep shopping till "The Day I Die".

To Cela, staying active means: getting out of the house as soon as possible after her caregiver arrives; going shopping-she loves consignment shopping but needs her caregiver's eyes; going to the YMCA daily for water aerobics; having her packed lunch on a park bench or picnic table somewhere; volunteering at her favorite consignment shop using the eyes of her caregiver. (she has turned many a caregiver into a savy buyer)

My agency has been caring for Cela for 5 years, providing her with a home health aide 10 hrs/day-7 days/week. All this is paid for by her longterm insurance. She has a lifetime of benefits—paying over$70,000/year. Well worth the $6000 per year premium!!!!

Cela was eventually diagnosed with lung cancer which spread to her liver. This news and the pneumonia she was experiencing, took the wind out of her sails for a few weeks.

During one of my visits, she said to me "Alice I don't know how to do this; this dying stuff is hard, what do I do"?? My response to her was ,"Do whatever you want to do. You are not dying today . Go swimming, go shopping-continue with your life"!! Well, she has done just that!!

It took her awhile to get over her pneumonia and regain some of her strength but then she went swimming....

My point to all of this is BE PREPARED.....Stop with the thinking "IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME". (In the near future I will be addressing LongTermCare Insurance--keep watching)

In the middle of this, Cela's daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer. We never know what life will bring!! What will happen to Cela if her family preceeds her in death??

When I want to see Cela I have to ask her to stop by my office as she is so busy that she is never home. In she comes walking with her cane in one hand and holding her companion's arm ( her term of choice for her caregiver).

She is always, impeccably dressed with perfect make up on and not a hair out of place. If you look carefully you will see a small grimace, remnants
of the pain that her pain patch doesn't completely remove. Cela always wears a smile and is ready for a joke.

When I saw Cela today I told her I wanted to write this article and asked her what name she would like me to use. "My stage name of course....Cela DeGamba"!!!! So here you are Cela--Keep on performing!!!

Dedicated To Eldercare



Alice Endy is a Registered Nurse with a certification in Gerontology.

Alice has spent her entire career in the field of eldercare. Being a sought after speaker and consutant , she spends most of her time researching trends and changes in eldercare.

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