Chicago Methodist Senior Services is dedicated to providing more good days for the people in our care, but we know it can be hard to get a feel for what that means not just in theory, but in practice. That’s why when we received a heartwarming letter from Susie McCallister, who is the daughter of the late Jane McCallister, a former Wesley Place resident, it felt important to share. Susie recognized just how much CMSS’ staff at Wesley Place did to help Jane have more good days, and we so appreciate her acknowledgement and support. Thank you for your note, Susie.
“For the staff at Wesley Place,
I’ve been reflecting an extra amount this week or two about how lucky it was that we found Wesley Place for Mama.
It was clear from early on that you all are not just skilled care providers, but also know how to be personal and caring with each and every one of these individuals, creating more of a family feeling than I ever thought would be possible at a nursing home. Each of you uses all the training, experience, and instincts you have to manage so many difficult things about caring for someone who is unable to move or do things for themselves, or who doesn’t understand what’s happening. All the while, you are able to be yourselves by not employing too much of a professional mask or keeping too much distance. You show so much loving kindness, and an authenticity that is rare in this kind of setting.
In her last week or so, as my mother was clearly beginning to transition, it was so hard not to be there with her. But knowing you were there made it OK. You were so compassionate with my family, urging us to be strong for her, and worked to help us have Zoom calls or a FaceTime visit—thank you for those. It was such a comfort to know that you were watching over her, looking in, treating her with kindness, making sure she was OK. It made it bearable to be far away.
And after she passed away, I realized that you do this for one person after another. I’ve been thinking what an incredible job this is, to welcome elderly people onto the floor, ones you are meeting for the first time. You get to know them, learn what works for them and how they are unique, sweet and their own person, and you figure out how to tend to and help them. And you do it day in and day out for some months or years until it is time for them to go, caring for them and giving them love in that ordinary, relaxed, personal way that a regular family does, all the way along.
I think most of us hope for the chance to depart this life peacefully at home. You make a home where people can live comfortably, and also a place where they can pass away at home. I just don’t think this is the usual thing you can expect in most nursing homes. What an incredible job you do, really. I am kind of in awe of it.
Thank you for everything.
Susie McCallister, Jane McCallister’s daughter”