Patty Messick: A day without Trinity Living Center

Published 9:38 pm Saturday, November 11, 2017

By Patty M. Messick

Special to the Salisbury Post

The alarm goes off. It’s 6 a.m. After sleeping with one eye open, Jane (not her real name) rises. On a normal day, Jane would dress herself, help her mother, who lives with her, get dressed, and head out for Trinity Living Center where Jane’s mother will spend her day while Jane goes to work.

However, the center has closed, and Jane has nowhere for her mother to go.

She calls in to work yet another time, knowing that her employer cannot continue to keep her job open while she tries to find care for her mother. She doesn’t want to lose her job, but she also doesn’t want to place her mother in long-term care. She’s just not ready to do that yet. Without Trinity Living Center, however, she has no choice.

At the same time in another part of Rowan County, Alice wakes up and dresses for the day. And she waits. And waits and waits for somewhere to go and something to do. She lives alone, is no longer able to drive, and has no family nearby. She would like to take a short walk, but she’s just not steady enough on her feet to do that alone. She passes the day by herself, missing her friends at Trinity Living Center. Oh, she loved being there. She belonged. She had a reason to get up in the morning and things to look forward to, like Zumba and art class and getting her hair done and just being with her friends. She misses the hot meal at lunch and the loving care of the staff.

Most of all, she misses feeling connected to something bigger than herself. But since TLC has closed, she will spend another day alone and waiting.

Across town, Paula, a former CNA at Trinity Living Center, gets up after a restless night of wondering and worrying. Wondering what she’s supposed to do without a job. Will I be able to find another job? How long will it take? Will I be able to pay all of my bills in the meantime? Worrying about what the participants are doing and how they’re being cared for without Trinity Living Center.

She wonders if everyone has someone to help them get up, get dressed and get breakfast. What about the ones who don’t have someone that can stay home with them? Are they safe? Are they wondering what’s going on and why they’re not getting ready for their day at Trinity Living Center?

Paula’s thoughts are interrupted by memories of the week before when she came back from lunch to see all smiles and laughter as the participants were working on making fruit salsa and chips for a special afternoon snack. Everyone was involved in one way or another. Some were chopping fruit, some were measuring out other ingredients to add to the mixture and some were just enjoying the fellowship and doing more talking than making, but they were all having a good time. She wonders what they are doing with their time now.

Trinity Living Center holds a special place in the hearts of many Rowan County residents. Although the connection is more personal for some, the impact of a community without Trinity Living Center is huge. Trinity Living Center provides medical monitoring, assistance with activities of daily living, meals, socialization and a wide variety of activities for its participants.

The folks who attend wake up with a purpose, knowing they are part of the community. Having Trinity Living Center available makes it easier for families to retain their jobs, providing them with financial stability, and it offers them a break from the hard job of caregiving, allowing them to take care of themselves as well.

The staff at Trinity Living Center are very caring and loving people. They get attached to the participants and treat them as if they were family. They see what the needs of the participants are and they take care of them without thinking twice. For the staff of Trinity Living Center, caring for the participants each day is not just their job, it’s their passion!

We at Trinity Living Center cannot thank the Rowan County United Way enough for the support they give us as one of their agencies. With their funding, we are able to provide exceptional care to frail elderly and disabled adults in our community and offer peace of mind to their family members.

Without the United Way, we would not be able to do all that we do.

Patty M. Messick is program coordinator for Trinity Living Center. For more information, call 704-637-3940.