In honor of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, during the month of September we are spotlighting stories our franchisees have shared on how their businesses are part of the “Business of Care.” For more information on how you can be part of the business care, visit our Franchise Website.
“I met 89-year-old Roz about a year after we opened our Homewatch CareGivers operation in 2006. I was sitting in my office early one evening and saw ‘Cleveland Clinic’ display on my caller ID. The Cleveland Clinic is the most prominent hospital in the city. A little nervous, I picked up the phone and found myself speaking to one of the clinic’s social workers. He said he found us online and called because Roz needed a ride home from her doctor’s appointment. When I offered to do it for free, I heard several seconds of silence. It was as if he didn’t compute what I said. After very little convincing, we got Roz’s ‘business.’ Roz needed rides every month for blood work. I got to know her very well and learned that she was an accomplished pianist and at the time, was still teaching!
She was concerned about being on a fixed income, so we bartered a bit on the price. I would give her rides on demand in exchange for weekly piano lessons. But I was shrewd. I also asked that she include my sister in those weekly Sunday morning lessons; 30 minutes each. Jennifer always brought her candy and the New York Times. I think Roz liked Jennifer better. But she did teach me how to play my favorite piece—Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
Roz lived alone in an independent living facility. One Sunday morning we arrived like we always did, but there was no answer. Of course we thought the worst. A few days later her daughter called to tell me that Roz had a fall. After her rehab, she would be placed in a nursing home. She quickly declined and was stricken with Alzheimer’s. In her final days, I visited her and she was sitting in the lobby staring out the window. She didn’t remember me. But she said I reminded her of someone she used to give lessons to. ‘Oh, she was my favorite student,’ Roz said. ‘You remind me of the young man she used to bring with her. I can’t remember his name.’
She then took my hand and led me to the piano in the lobby of the nursing home. What would you like me to play, she asked? I just smiled. And then I got choked up when she started to play—Moonlight Sonata.”
—Eric Malkin, Homewatch CareGivers of Beachwood, OH