Still home, more than 40 years later

Mary and Leon Reed have lived more than 40 years together in the modest, ranch-style house they built in College Grove.

Mary Reed, left, with her MCHRA Homemaker representative, Carol.

Mary Reed, left, with her MCHRA Homemaker representative, Carol.

They raised two children in that home, where they also raised cows, raised crops, and simply lived “a working life.”

Married 63 years and now 80 and 82 years old, respectively, Mary and Leon are not ready to leave that home yet.

And thanks to help from family and community resources such as the Mid-Cumberland Human Resource Agency’s Homemaker program, a United Way of Williamson County Health partner, they don’t have to.

Three years ago, Leon – who has Parkinson’s Disease – fell and broke his leg. Since then, his health has continued to decline to the point that he is now bed-ridden.

“I want to stay here with him as long as I can without putting him in a nursing home, as long as I’m able to tend to him,” said Mary, who has also faced a variety of health issues.

But between her health issues and caring for Leon, she began to find it difficult to keep up with household tasks.

“I got to where I couldn’t sweep and mop and do all that stuff,” she said. “I just did the best I could, and my house was getting in a mess.”

Their daughter and son-in-law lived nearby and helped frequently, but both worked full-time jobs and were limited to what they could help with during weekends.

Recently, Mary was referred to the MCHRA Homemaker program.

“The lady came out and interviewed me and said she was going to send somebody,” said Mary. “So, Carol came along, and she’s my angel.”

Once a week, Carol, the Reeds’ Homemaker representative, goes to their home to help with any household tasks that may need to be done. Sometimes the tasks are routine, such as mopping floors or changing lightbulbs; sometimes the tasks are more involved, such as organizing closets.

All of them, though, are vital for maintaining a safe and healthy home environment.

“She just does everything,” said Mary. “I couldn’t do without her.”

As the effects of aging and poor health take their toll on us, the basic tasks of daily living can become increasingly difficult to handle. Sometimes to the point when it’s no longer safe or feasible to live alone.

Often, though, all it takes is a little help from programs like Homemaker to give senior citizens the opportunities to remain in the comfort and familiarity of the homes they created for themselves.

Learn more about how United Way of Williamson County works to support our community’s most vulnerable.