“We have a friend of 50 or 60 years that said she could do it,” he said.
Louise Hoffman offered to help organize and call the volunteers. John calls her if things come up and he needs a little extra help and she arranges for his helpers to come on a regular schedule so he has “days off.”
The liaison is utilized so there are never any hurt feelings for guilt when helpers cannot help one day or another.
“Louise just calls them up and they help if they can,” he said. “If not, she just goes to the next name on the list.
“I have one day a week, Thursdays, where I have eight hours off. I know when it is so I can make plans. I really look forward to it.”
There are about 12 women on the care team at any given time. They often come to visit in pairs so they can chat and Nancy can hear their conversation and feel involved.
“We are so blessed,” John said.
He said he will often plan a breakfast or lunch with friends or family to get him out of the house. He is also part of the Men’s Service Group at Bartlett Chapel and takes time to participate in that.
“I think you should bring your care team together early,” he said. “In my mind, people on the team build a relationship and will be able to stay further into the process. You can’t wait until you are in crisis to build your team.”
At first, John said he felt guilty asking for a day off, but he’s learned that it’s good for both him and Nancy.
“Nancy enjoys the respite from me,” he said. “And I’ve really looked forward to planning what I’m going to do on Thursdays. One has to get away for a least a few hours weekly to recharge and rebound, even though it’s easy to say and difficult to do.”