Sharing your life
Seeing Betty and Grace sit together, chatting and laughing, it is easy to see that they are good friends.
“We are like sisters,” Grace says. Betty agrees.
“We have a lot of fun together,” she says.How they came to be together is a story of faith.
Betty grew up in a large, close-knit family. She lives with developmental disabilities and says she’s struggled with depression since she was a teenager. Still, Betty was very close to her parents, especially her mother, so when her mother passed away, literally in Betty’s arms, it impacted her deeply. “I was really traumatized by my mom’s death,” Betty remembers. “I had horrible panic attacks and anxiety. I wasn’t doing well.” She remembers visiting the psychiatric ward at the hospital and being referred to a short-term program for people experiencing a mental health crisis. Eventually, she came to live on her own but was not doing well. She had stopped eating and drinking and her family was deeply concerned for her.
Then Grace entered her life. Grace has been a Home Share Provider through Communitas Supportive Care Society for several years. Home Share Providers open their homes and their lives to someone living with disabilities. Grace has found this to be both challenging and rewarding work, something she feels called to do.
“We are created by God to share,” she explains. “Sharing your home and your life is not always easy. There are hard days when you have to be strong for both of you but the benefits outweigh the challenges.”
So when Grace was contacted by Betty’s sister, Edith, and learned a bit about Betty’s story, she offered to take Betty in on a trial basis. It was difficult at first but with time and patience, Betty began to turn around.
“She was so frail when she first came,” Grace remembers. “I made her smoothies. I ensured that she was taking her medication. Eventually things changed.”
Today, Betty is doing very well. She is healthy and happy, laughing easily, living an abundant life. She enjoys going for walks with Grace and really loves Grace’s cooking – especially the Kenyan dishes that she prepares. Creative pursuits also keep her busy. Betty’s mother taught her how to embroider and she enjoys making pillows and quilt blocks. She also makes her own greeting cards. Betty is very involved in her church, attending services, a women’s Bible study group, and prayer meetings with her prayer partner. Her faith in God is very important to her.
“God helps me so much,” she says. “I would fall apart without the Lord.”
Grace credits God for everything that has happened. “God is so good,” she says, confidently. “Betty’s turn-around is like a resurrection! It is truly an answer to prayer.”
Betty’s sister, Edith, says that Betty is doing better than ever and she is grateful that they’ve come together.
“This has afforded me a great deal of confidence and peace of mind,” she says. “It really is a success story.”
For others who might be thinking about becoming a Home Share Provider, Grace says it is a commitment worth considering. She recommends providing respite care first, so that you get to know each other. Knowing that Communitas provides support and that there are other Home Share Providers to talk to is helpful. “You have to be willing to be flexible,” she says. “I would encourage anyone to consider sharing their life with another. See what God can do.”
For more information about Home Share, visit CommunitasCare.com/become-a-caregiver.