Inspiration

By Charles Towne 

Upon first meeting Nancy Lou Towne you can’t help but be struck by her beautiful smile and happy attitude.  Well educated and friendly she possesses a keen sense of humor which enables her to make friends easily.  A devoted Christian Nancy was 27 and an honors graduate of the University of Pittsburgh when she went on her third archeological dig to Israel. (She claims she left her heart in that place)

It was while she was in the Holy Land that she and a group of university students went to Egypt with the intent of climbing the great pyramid. She was at the summit when she suddenly and quite inexplicably went blind in her left eye.  Her sight gradually returned but when she arrived back in the states she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis which has challenged her for the past forty years

Florida Living is a nursing home as well as an assisted living retirement community located in Apopka not far from Orlando. A home away from home for the people that reside there, Florida Living has been that and much more for Nancy for nearly a year now

Nancy (I call her Nanny) is my wife as well as the joy of my life.

Seventeen years ago she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and since then it has been my joy and sometimes my frustration to be her caregiver and this is where the Florida Living nursing center enters the picture.

The unrelenting stress of caregiving invariably takes a deadly toll on everybody involved, the patient, the caregiver and the extended family as well.

After three heart attacks, diabetes, and COPD, I saw the handwriting on the wall… I was dying and if that were to happen who would care for my darling Nancy?

Reluctantly I began searching for just the right nursing home.

Many caregivers delay the inevitable. They, like I did at one time feel that if they place their loved one in a nursing home they are abandoning not only the person but their obligation as the caregiver as well.

Yes, I searched… I prayed… oh, how I prayed… and I found the Florida Living Nursing Center.

I visit Nanny in Florida Living frequently and I am taking excellent care of myself as well.   By good health practices and a deep faith in Papa God, all of my health issues have been reversed.

The Florida Living nursing center is striving to provide a facility where my wife and the other residents can obtain compassionate as well as professional care if and when they need it.

Yes, Florida Living is a haven where I trust that Nancy is receiving the care she needs and praise God it has likely saved my life as well.

Yes, we called out for help… and naturally, our loving God answered!

 


Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Undoubtedly, the most difficult decision you had ever been forced to make. It sounds like you did the research and asked God to do the driving. Well Done, Charles! Self-Care and personal wellness of caregivers is often overlooked. I have been preaching it’s importance for over 2 decades. This is a perfect example…so glad you saw the proverbial writing on the wall before it was too late! Thanks for sharing and enlightening our readers!

  2. Dear NH, there is an interesting phenomenon at work when otherwise intelligent men and women continue on a course they know is absolutely destructive. I praise God for giving me the incentive and the motivation to make some life changing decisions. We all know people that are grossly overweight but refuse to change their eating habits because the enjoy the food or whatever it is that is making them fat. I was fooling myself with the idea that I was being noble or something by continuing to care for Nanny even when I knew the constant stress was killing me. Sometimes we need to make difficult decisions and if we call on Him Papa God will guide us and strengthen us to His glory. Pray for me and I will continue to pray for you. Your brother in Jesus, Chaz

  3. Beautiful article Chuck. My prayers are with you and yours as always. As my parents age, I find myself not wanting to let go of being their caretaker but worry that there may come a time when I have no choice. Your column reminded me to put it in God’s hands. If I do that, He will take care of all involved. God bless!

    -Donnie

  4. Don, what you describe is a natural state and it befalls us all but it is not easy to accept the inevitable. What we do have a say in is how we love patiently and care for those around us. There is that time that we all must accept what will be but until that going away moment let it be said of us that we were Christlike in all we did or said. Nobody likes to see a loved one fail but it certainly makes a difference when we have a trust and absolute faith in friend God. Blessings pal, Chaz

  5. I also was looking for a place that could take care of my wife Betty. She hit a truck head on, fifty years ago, and I had been taking care of her for 21 years. This had been 24 hours a day and I was reaching a point where I could no longer keep up with Betty’s needs. FLNC (Florida Living Nursing Center) was the answer I had been looking for, and in 2016 she was accepted as a Full Time Care resident. Originally given 3 days to live, by all her doctors, God answered all the prayers by extending her life. Last month, 3 days before her 91st Birthday, Betty had an incident she couldn’t overcome. Hospice of the Comforter stepped in, and Betty was given the best (EOL) end of life care possible! I would also like to add, that when I was called at 1:00am, and told that Betty would not last the night, my best friend Charles Towne came in and sat with me. At the last, I wasn’t alone….Thanks Chuck!

  6. Oh Chuck, how this article truly hits home with me!! At 80yrs old, my dear sweet mother was caregiver to my brother while he battled throat cancer. It definitely took its toll on her health. Then a few months after he went to be with the Lord, she started all over again with my dad, suffering COPD, until his passing, one year after my brother. She was 85 and worn out, but never stopped giving. My husband and I were able to help, since they each one moved in with us to lighten the load. A few months later, she had deteriorated to the point we could no longer give her the care she required and had to put her into a care facility. My husband and I visited her several times a week and made sure she knew she was loved and not abandoned. During all of this, my husband had several health issues of his own and experienced kidney failure. He had to start dialysis and I became his caregiver. We continued visiting my mother and trying to live life to the max, as much as possible. But, dialysis is hard on you and my husband suffered other issues as well. After my mother passed away, my beloved husband went to join them one year later. It is a difficult thing losing your entire family in a 6yr period, but knowing where they are and that you gave your best, is very comforting. To all caregivers. God bless you!! I’m sure God has a very special reward for your selfless giving.

  7. Charles, you give such a lovely description of Nancy. She is lucky to have had you to take such good care of her for all of those years. It is good thing that you eventually realized you couldn’t do it all by yourself and reached out to God for a new direction – for the both of you. And He answered. And now you can still watch over her at the Florida Living Nursing Center, while also taking care of yourself.

  8. Kristin, I am lucky, no, I am blessed to have Nancy in my life. I thank God every day for the opportunity to care for her. I am a better man because of her but having said that I recognize my limitations therefore I am thankful for the nursing home which enables me to be there for her in a healthier capacity than would be possible if I was called upon to care for her 24/7 on my own as before. I believe the greatest thing that caregivers can do is care for themselves thus the time spent with their loved one is undivided. Let us be a blessing to all. Chaz

  9. Don, it is caregivers such as yourself that makes me realize that there really are larger than life heroes surrounding us. Betty was so fortunate to have you my friend and she was so thankful that you were always there.
    God bless you pal, Chaz

  10. Dear CSG, yes! Once again you prove my premise is correct, that caregivers are created of extra special stuff. I know that your husband counted himself exceedingly blessed to have you at his side. He loved you mightily. May Papa God bless you and hold you close is my prayer. Chaz

  11. What a wonderful article, I have the pleasure of know both Charles and Nancy. It is a great joy to hear their story . Michael

  12. Mike, God bless you pal. I really appreciate your words my friend. I can’t express what your kind attention means to Nanny and thus vicariously to me. Chaz

  13. May God continue to bless you and Nancy. And thank you for allowing us to be a part of the healing ministry of Christ.

  14. Kennie, I am struck by the importance of good dedicated people in any organization and especially in the healthcare professions. As we continually strive for perfection we draw ever nearer that allusive dream. Florida Living is NEVER merely four walls and a roof but a reflection of MANAGEMENT, yes, A REFLECTION OF YOU and the rest of the staff continually reaching and working to make a good thing better. Thanks Kennie, keep up the good work, Chaz

  15. I remember the first time I met Nancy, I knew right away I should get to know her and so I did! Together we discovered we both loved “old movies”, we decried the fact that men no longer wore hats, real hats like “bogey” wore! We had many fasinating coversations and I miss them because I do not see her as often as I’d like.
    You know Chuck, my mom had dementia and she lived with my sister. I am well aware that all to often, the disease does more harm to the caregiver than the patient! You made a difficult decision but it was made from love, prayer, and good judgement! I know it was not easy, but it was necessary! God truly loves Nancy because He gave her you to watch over her!

  16. Richard, what can I say other than thank you from the depths of my heart. I like the classic hats as well as the classic movies and especially my Nancy because she is a genuine classic. Many blessings on you and everything you touch my friend. Chaz

  17. It is an unfortunate fact that we are all too close to being ” classics” ourselves, or if not classics, surely we are at the very least “vintage”!!!

  18. Richard, I don’t know exactly how it relates to the issue at hand but it seems to me that old fossil, neanderthal and ape man seem to resonate with some of us. Not Nancy of coarse ’cause she will always be classic, and perhaps not me but the rest of us perhaps, maybe. Chaz

  19. Dear friends, thanks so very much for your well thought out comments. It is as much your your comments as the article itself that draws readers and I can’t express my appreciation enough. God bless each of you in a very special way. Chaz

  20. It’s good to know that you’ve done your research on a facility thoroughly enough that you only had to place Nancy once.

    If folks find themselves searching for facilities they can utilize the free resources available through the Alzheimer’a & Dementia Resource Center (www.ADRCcares.org). Even if they don’t place their loved one outside the home ADRC has fabulous classes that can guide you on your caregiving journey.

    Keep up the good work, Charles!

  21. Dear Gymrat, good info and thanks a lot. Yes, I placed Nanny once but checked out half a dozen nursing homes before I settled on Florida Living. At that I was very blessed. Some have to wait for months, even years to find placement in the nursing home of their choice. Yes, I was blessed beyond belief. No facility is 100% perfect but I know that my wife is safe. Oh sure there are issues. This evening I went in and discovered that my darling had thrown some of her clothes away because they needed to be washed. Frustrating yes, can we handle it? Yes, a thousand times yes because I love my darling and after all, it wasn’t the homes fault. Thanks again, Chaz

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