From the orchestrated clamour of wooden spoons connecting with frying pans, to symphonies of applause and tapping hockey sticks, the energy of support for healthcare workers is gathering momentum. Globally and locally, communities are uniting to show an appreciation for these unsung heroes, recognizing that their courage and selfless actions support us all. Within the Okanagan Valley, the story is no different. Dedicated healthcare workers are devoting their time and energy to helping those in need, and locals are feeling immense gratitude for their efforts.
Founder of the Okanagan company Back to Earth, Kiley, along with her family, has experienced this dedication firsthand. Their story began a few years ago, when they observed subtle personality and behavioral changes in their patriarch, Kiley’s father. They watched as he took to walking in circles around the storefront, a place he knew well, and developing the habit of parroting back what was said to him. As the family’s concern grew for their 63-year-old loved one, a diagnosis of Pick’s Disease, an early onset of Dementia, was confirmed and the first Care Aide was hired.
The dedicated efforts of this initial help were a blessing, but the disease overtook the love one dark night when Kiley’s dad set out in -14 degree weather to walk the treacherous 15 kilometers to her home. With determined effort, he succeeded in his mission, but not without first experiencing a heart attack and severely damaging his physical body. Following this, the family made the difficult decision to place him in the complex care unit of a local care home, and started the process of extensive physical therapy and fulltime healthcare.
As the “disease of a thousand goodbyes” progressed, Kiley witnessed the immense “love, grace, and understanding” offered by her father’s healthcare providers. Words cannot express the comfort gained from such kindness or the impact that their compassionate actions had on the family. Often reminded that “this is harder for you than it is for him”, Kiley and her family were provided with the encouragement and support needed to find their “new normal”.
Now in his late 60’s, Kiley’s father continues to soak up the love offered by his Care Aide and healthcare providers. Although conversation slowly evaporates beyond his reach, a love for music endures, and he can often be heard belting out the lyrics to his favorite Santana and Led Zeppelin melodies. This passion flourishes within the embrace of his Care Aide who regularly organizes outings for dancing and creates an atmosphere of tenderness, patience, and understanding.
“You can understand everything to share
Let your spirits dance brothers everywhere
Let your head be free
Turn the wisdom key
Find it naturally
See you’re lucky to be”
Amidst these uncertain times and challenging circumstances, Kiley and her family are “forever grateful” for the dedication and support they have received. In Kiley’s words “Health Care workers are truly Angels in disguise!”
“You give me hope and consolation
You give me strength to carry on
And you’re always there to lend a hand
In everything I do
That’s the wonder
The wonder of you”
- Elvis Presley
The Back to Earth family would like to extend a heartfelt Thank You to each and every Healthcare Angel who is selflessly caring for us all. From the bottom of our hearts, and the depths of our fears, we appreciate you!
Written By: Zoë Tomichich
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