Melissa Lagorio and Paul TynanMy father, at age 96, has always reminded me of John Wayne. Stoic and always there with a great icebreaker. My father is also my friend, and it’s hard to watch him become vulnerable. We started to realize that dad needed more assistance and someone to help him, but not encroach on his dignity.

I knew that a nursing home was not a good fit for dad. Dad’s scoliosis, mobility, hearing, and short-term memory were declining and loneliness began to creep in. We found that he wasn’t eating and was losing weight. Now, a Help at Home aide visits him in the mornings and makes his breakfast and coffee, so he isn’t alone when he wakes up. He also receives a hydrobath from Day Break, and the Mini Bus is a life saver because he can’t drive.

This has been the turning point to him regaining his vitality. He is flourishing now and I don’t see him depressed. You should have seen me three years ago, I was a mess. I was so stressed from the fact that I didn’t know what to do. The Senior Center’s attitude of, “What can we do? How can we make this better?” is without judgment. I am not powerless anymore.