For 68-year-old Wilmington resident Mary, laughter is medicinal. She has a big smile and a cheery demeanor, despite chronic pain that threatens her quality of life.
Mary suffers from advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, which causes shortness of breath and fatigue while doing everyday activities. For the tasks she struggles with, the Clinton County Elderly Services Program (ESP) – which is administered by Council on Aging – steps in.
“I started to have a lot of problems taking care of very basic things, like getting groceries, showering, and cleaning my home, so I knew I needed help,” Mary says.
“With the severity of my condition, I was afraid to reach out to just anybody for help. Council on Aging gave me assurance that I’d be safe in their care. They’ve never made me feel inferior or like I’m a problem.”
ESP serves Mary by providing her with home-delivered meals, transportation, homemaking, and personal care. As a result, she is able to maintain a sense of independence that brings her great joy.
“It’s very important for me to stay in my home,” she says. “This way, I have the freedom to live how I want and spend time with my cats.”
Mary’s cats, Tilly and Pumpkin Marie, are always by her side. She has a deep love of animals and kept horses on her property for several years.
In her everyday life, you’ll find Mary sitting in her recliner, reminiscing about the pets she’s taken care of and good times with her son and grandchildren. She enjoys laughing with her friends and neighbors and has a passion for Disney World.
“The staff at Council on Aging has shown me a lot of kindness and compassion,” Mary says. “The service provided by the caregivers has been really wonderful for me.”