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Our Heartbeat: Sweet Cynthia

AutumnGrove Cottage has a wonderful program of PRN (pro re nata meaning “as needed”) caregivers to fill in if one of our caregivers calls in sick or is on vacation. These amazing people step up to the occasion and help out at all of the cottages when they are needed. We have had many talented PRN caregivers in this program and some have even joined our team as a full time caregiver. I wanted to share with you a story of how a PRN caregiver befriended one of our Woodlands residents in such an endearing way.

Becky

Becky

Cynthia Pratt has a true calling for helping anyone and everyone. She always shows up to the cottages with a good spirit, a sense of happiness and a heart full of love. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of situation she is thrown in at a cottage because she handles it with a sweet, kind attitude that makes anyone aspire to be like her. One day Cynthia was filling in at The Woodlands Cottage and really hit it off with one of the residents, Becky. Becky has called The Woodlands Cottage home for about four years. When Becky first moved in she had two simple phrases that she said to everyone, “Bless you” and “You’re amazing.” Becky certainly knew when anyone needed a little uplifting in their day and would simply tell them one of her heart-felt phrases. Over time Becky has lost the ability to communicate with words and now only speaks with her facial expressions. The caregivers and manager at The Woodlands will only get a smile, grimace, tear and the occasional chuckle. This communication difficulty had no impact on Cynthia. One night the manager, Julie, was doing some office work and overheard Cynthia chatting away about cooking. Cynthia went on and on about this particular recipe and Julie became curious as to whom she was relaying so much information to. Julie stepped out of her office and when she rounded the corner she saw Cynthia and Becky sitting at the dining room table. Julie just stood and watched as Cynthia talked in depth about what she was going to cook for dinner that night. Becky sat and listened intently and when Cynthia paused for a response, Becky returned with a sweet smile. This never bothered Cynthia; she continued to talk to Becky despite her contributing to the conversation with just a smile. After a couple of minutes, the conversation was over and Cynthia moved into the kitchen to start to cook dinner for the residents. Julie was so overcome with emotion while watching this interaction that she walked up to Cynthia and gave her a huge hug and told her how much she appreciated all the love and kindness she had shown Becky.

I just want to take a moment and thank Cynthia for stepping in at The Woodlands Cottage and caring for our residents as if they were part of her own family. Thank you for not letting Becky’s inability to communicate stop you from having a heart-felt exchange with her about dinner. Thank you for showing an abundance of respect and affection for reach resident in every cottage that you have worked at. AutumnGrove is lucky to have such a remarkable PRN caregiver program that allows our residents to interact with people who truly care for them and want nothing more than to see a smile on their faces.

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