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Comfort and relief for a senior and his fiancée

December 10, 2015
Catholic Charities

This is the second of three Advent stories focusing on clients served by Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The theme of this series is “A Season of Mercy,” following in the footsteps of Pope Francis’ declaration of a Year of Mercy.

My name is Hong Ik. I am a 63-year-old male who suffered a brain aneurism and developed short-term memory loss. Because of my declining health, my fiancée, Karen, had to quit her job and care for me full time, but this was not sustainable. One day, in desperation, she contacted Catholic Charities Adult Day Services San Mateo to see if they could help.

When I initially enrolled in the program I attended two days a week. I am typically a quiet and reserved person, so I was unsure about this new environment. Plus, I needed assistance because I am unsteady on my feet which made me feel uncomfortable. Oftentimes I searched for an exit so I could go to a store to buy cigarettes.

After a few weeks I added a third day at the program. Through the care and attention of the staff at Catholic Charities Adult Day Services San Mateo, I became acclimated to the daily activities, made a few new friends, and opened up to staff. Now, I attend the program five days a week and sometimes I even stay for extended day care. My transition to Catholic Charities gave my fiancée a break, allowed her to find part-time work, and even helped me to quit smoking.

Catholic Charities also assisted me and Karen with our large debt. Because our income was low, we could not afford to pay rent and other living expenses, including the cost of day services at Catholic Charities, even at the lowest rate. But, with the help of Catholic Charities staff, Karen was able to access resources that provided her with much needed respite and allowed me to continue attending the program. Karen now enjoys a good night’s sleep, attends the monthly caregiver support group and classes, and is extremely grateful for the positive impact Catholic Charities Adult Day Services San Mateo has had on our relationship. We are so grateful for the relief Catholic Charities has given us.

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