Caregiving and care receiving: Greenwood Senior Center supports the whole family

By Lisa Bakke, Therapeutic Consultant at the Greenwood Senior Center

When the call went out for stories of family caregivers who show the Power of Community my first thought was of Sandi and her mother Dorothy.

As the facilitator of our Greenwood Senior Center support group, Adult Daughters Caring for their Mothers, I first met Sandi virtually more than a year ago. She had been a member of the group for some time and would often participate from her cell phone while seated in the small studio apartment she and her mother—and a kitty—share. I’ve also had the honor of providing individual counseling and support to Sandi in her caregiving role.

Some months ago, Sandi’s eyes perked up during a group session when the senior lunches at the GSC came up in conversation. Then one day in our lobby the front door opened and in walked a woman with bright eyes over the top of a mask—it was Sandi, with her mother Dorothy! It was such a delight to see them in person. We hugged and then it was time for them to eat lunch. Since that day, Sandi and Dorothy regularly come to the GSC and it’s always wonderful to see them.

We recently caught up with Sandi to learn more about why the Greenwood Senior Center means so much to her and her mom.

GSC Program Manager Ariel Burnett at the Museum of Flight’s recent “The Walt Disney Studios and World War II” exhibition.

Therapeutic Consultant Lisa Bakke catches up with Sandi in the Greenwood Senior Center lobby. Lisa facilitates the GSC Adult Daughters Caring for their Mothers support group, which Sandi enjoys with her mother Dorothy.

Why did you decide to participate in our Adult Daughters Support Group?

“It is exactly the sort of support group I need. There really is no caregiver support groups through our health care provider and yet this is a generational challenge. Also, it is often the daughters that take care of their mothers…daughters in the caregiver role and mothers who live longer. There is such a HUGE NEED.”

Tell me what has Adult Daughters meant to you? How has it been helpful to you?

“It has meant so much. The willingness of Carin Mack and now Lisa Bakke to be there for us individually when an emergency happens. Someone willing to be available to talk in such a humane and caring way. They have helped with end-of-life emergencies and bureaucratic nightmares. It can be overwhelming. I have received such useful information, resources, and support from those who attend and support their mothers, like I do.”

Are there any final words that you would like to share?

“Again, I have received such important information that helps me as a caregiver for my mom. It was at this group that I found out about the Sound Generations Caregiver Advocate program. I also found out about the Greenwood Senior Center lunches… I bring my mom three times a week. My mom is a blessing and is so kind about my cooking, but having some new meals is a good thing. We also now come to lectures.

“I also appreciate the sensitivity that some of us are more financially challenged and we can still get the help we need. This is information is not in any other place.”

Greenwood Senior Center program participants enjoy a tour of the Henry Art Gallery.

Sandi and Dorothy after completing a half marathon together. Dorothy took up long-distance walking later in life.

A recent cocktail-making course held in the Greenwood Senior Center dining room. It also involved cocktail tasting. Cheers!
A recent cocktail-making course held in the Greenwood Senior Center dining room. It also involved cocktail tasting. Cheers!
Sandi is an inspiration to the women in our support group. Her tales of hiking with her mom, who is almost 99 years old, bring tears of joy and disbelief—yet here they are, now coming in person to the GSC for our wonderful lunches at noontime and lectures that spark interest.

They get around. They are a dynamic mother-daughter duo! Caregiving and care receiving—a journey of many miles begins with a single step and we are honored that Sandi and Dorothy’s steps have led them to connect in rich and diverse ways with the Greenwood Senior Center.

Their passions for lifelong learning and engagement are being met here. That’s the Power of Community.

Power of Community graphic

Support the Greenwood Senior Center and celebrate the Power of Community with a tax-deductible gift to our campaign today. Our goal is to raise $60,000 for all of our senior programs, including our events, lectures, and classes. Help us spread the word!

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