2018 Caregiver of the Year | Southeast Region

Diane Waddy

Southeast Region

Fort Mill, SC Office

Diane is a lifesaver, in more ways than one, for her 93-year-old client Marjorie and her family. Marjorie's daughter, Linda, says, “We rest so much easier knowing that Diane is there taking care of our mom when we are far away and cannot be there.”

Nomination Letter

Written by Linda P., daughter of client Marjorie S.

I would like the opportunity to tell you about my mother (Marjorie), our experience with BrightStar Care of Fort Mill / Rock Hill, and how our caregiver saved my mom's life not once, but twice.

I will begin by telling you about my amazing mom. She is 93 years old, sharp as a tack, and extremely independent. Despite losing dad twelve years ago, mom stayed in their home and was able to take over all care and maintenance. She has wonderful friends and neighbors that did help out with some of the "heavier" lifting, but for the most part, she has handled it all on her own.

Unfortunately, one day last November changed much of that. In November of 2017, mom was driving in town finishing some daily errands when the brakes on her car failed causing her to strike another vehicle. While the impact of the crash did not leave lasting physical injuries, it did cause her to be badly shaken. It also caused the rest of us all a great deal of stress, worry and sleepless nights. Both my brother and I live out of state. In January, I flew up following a supportive conversation with my broher Paul and sister-in-law Jean. We realized it may be time for mom to have some help and to stop driving. I spent the next two days with mom, making our case. My mother is very sweet and did not push back, but I new from the look in her eyes that she felt her independence slipping away. I had an overwhelming feeling that I had caused my mom to want to gie up, but I knew we were making the right decision. We started looking online at home options for help. This is where BrightStar Care comes in.

Our initial meeting with the BrightStar care owner and nurse was on January 12, 2018. As a family, we felt this was definitely the right fit for mom. We decided to start having someone provide companionship and transportation for my mother two days per week. Our caregiver, Diane Waddy, started the very next week. Mom and Diane hit it off from the start. Diane saved my mom's life for the first time during these initial days of care. Mom was struglling to accept help and to lose driving privileges after so many years of doing things on her own. She was sad, tearful, and spoke at times about "giving up" and wanting just to go see dad again. Diane was mom's rock. She lifter her spirits during these dark few weeks. She not only took care of mom's physical needs, but took care of her soul as well. She opened my mother's eyes that this was just a new phase in her life, not the end of her life. She involved mom in tasks and decisions and made her feel like she was still very much in control. Diane assured mom over and over that she was there to help, not to take over. Their relationship continued to grow and mom flourished under Diane's care. Their bond was evident.

We decided soon after to increase Diane's presence to four days per week – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Mom wanted to leave Wednesdays open to have lunch with friends. This is an important piece of information because of what happens next. In July, we had yet another huge set back, and Diane saved mom's life for the second time. On Tuesday July 3rd, after Diane had left for the day, mom's knee gave out, and she fell. She was unable to get herself up. To complicate matters even further, her Life Alert battery was not charged, and she was unable to call for help. Diane was no due back until her shift on Thursday. My mom laid in that spot on the floor for the next day and a half. She was a former Sunday school teacher and recided all the verses she could recall. On Wednesday, the 4th of July, she sang patriotic songs to herself over and over. She fought like only my mother could. She counted the hours until she new Diane would come for her. She willed herself to hang on until then.

On Thursday, as scheduled, Diane arrived for her a.m. shift She found mom on the floor. Mom stated that she knew Diane would come and that is what kept her alive. In spite of Diane's shock, her training and natural instincts kicked in. I understand that when Diane went home that evening, she cried.

Mom spent long days in the hospital with Diane by her side. The fall caused some internal bleeding in her back which caused pressure on nerves. Mom was experiencing excruciating leg pain. Rehab followed, and again Diane was there. A hospital administrator even told the BrightStar Care owner that she had never witnessed a caregiver with such care, compassion, and competence. Thankfully, mom made it through and has returned home with Diane again right along side her.

Since our mom has been home, she is having more difficulties taking care of those day to day tasks. Diane has once again gone above and beyond. She calls the office weekly to add little things for my mom's plan of care. She wants to be sure the cat has water and that flowers are watered. These are not things that everyone thinks of. We rest so much easier knowing that Diane is there taking care of our mom when we are far away and cannot be there.

For these and so many other reasons, we would like for Diane to be considered for the Caregiver of the Year award. When we say that Diane is a "lifesaver," we mean that with all of our hearts. We really couldn't do this without her. Mom and Diane have become more than just caregiver and client the past eight months. They are family.