Seniorlink Blog

Shut-In But Not Shut Out: How I Live a Full Life at Home

Linda Sweet has been receiving care and support from her friend through the Caregiver Homes model of care for about two years.

I am often asked by social workers, nurses and even psychologists if I am depressed. They all find my response hard to believe. Arthritic knees, obesity, breathing problems and diabetes have left me a shut-in. Our house at the top of a hill accessible only by unrailed stairs combined with my own disabilities keep me housebound. While this is occasionally inconvenient, I am, for the most part, cheerful and active–not depressed.

I am housebound, but I am so many other things: a friend, a family member, a pet owner, a good listener, and an active contributor to my household.

Though I have a number of individual pursuits and interests, our family environment is essential to my well-being. I live with my friend and have become part of her family. I occasionally help the younger children with homework or crafts, as I was a teacher in my past life. I also enjoy mending clothes and other tasks that make me feel especially productive as a family member. Family celebrations, visits and daily interactions and conversations keep me interested and involved.

When I was working 8-10 hours a day, five days a week, I never had enough time for all the projects I wanted to start and hopefully finish. That’s no longer a problem. Crafts like knitting, crocheting and embroidery keep me busy. Also, I’ve always wanted to create jewelry from found items, specifically buttons. Now I have all the time I want to collect and create. I especially enjoy creating my own handmade gifts. When the tendonitis in my upper right arm acts up, I switch to writing short stories. I’ve never been published, but still am hopeful.

My constant companion is a little black Yorkiepoo named Yoshi. He loves my attention and supplies me with unconditional love. Life, of course, is not perfect as I would love to be able to take Yoshi on walks. He and I both depend on other generous family members for assistance.

Once a month, I see two of my favorite visitors: my nurse and care manager from Caregiver Homes. They are wonderful to chat with. My care manager tirelessly encourages me to stop smoking with both support and humor (I only smoke e-cigs now). My nurse always comes with an endless supply of funny stories about her pet pig Alamo. They both help my caregiver and I speak with medical professionals.

I have a great life and look forward to each new day. Being housebound is not an optimum condition, but it also is not necessarily permanent. I’m hopeful with all the support I have that things may certainly improve.
My next challenge is losing weight, which would be extremely beneficial for both my knees and diabetes. With the guidance and support of my team, I will decide on a plan. I know they will be there for me as I try to improve my health. Wish me luck!


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