Molly attended Sunday morning services regularly and independently. She was always looked smart and cheerful but preferred to keep herself to herself.
One day my phone went and the parishioner told me that someone had fallen over in one of the local streets. She did not know her name but recognised her from church. With a bit of detective work, I headed out to find that the person was Molly.
Her neighbours had picked her up and put a sticking plaster on her knee. With her agreement, I checked her blood pressure and other vital signs and she gave me a brief account. I asked if she had had breakfast and was drinking enough. She made light of her fall but since this was a new event, I wanted to make sure that there was not an underlying cause for her overbalancing. She finally admitted that she was diagnosed with diabetes and could not recall what she had eaten. Her medications revealed that she had often forgotten to take them. When I asked if she needed some shopping doing whilst she was still sore, the contents of her fridge revealed out-of-date and mouldy food.
She was willing to let me contact her son who lived in another city and a call to him revealed his concerns. She was ‘good at hiding things’ and did not like to make a fuss. When I explained that I was a nurse working with the church, he was relieved and advised his Mum to let me help her.
Further visits confirmed a developing issue with incontinence and a failing memory. However together we went to see her GP for a review and I wrote an assessment which he subsequently shared with a geriatrician. Molly received more support with her diabetic testing and incontinence.
The team working with me provided transport to church if she wished and we monitored her memory. I visited her regularly. Over the years, Molly’s dementia slowly developed but she was able to live independently with the ongoing support of her good neighbours. Eventually she moved into residential care where she was still visited regularly and received communion there as she was less able to get to church. She was happy to remain part of the fellowship and her son was very grateful for her good care.
Together the church fellowship and I were able to care for Molly’s mental, spiritual health as well as her physical wellbeing.