DEARBORN — You can hear the pride in Joyce Younk’s voice when she talks about years of teaching students piano in her home and also serving as the church organist for Faith United Methodist Church in Belleville for 25 years.
Younk’s piano playing and teaching days ended when she faced a series of serious medical conditions, including spinal stenosis that left her paralyzed. She relied on the help of caregivers and her husband, Jim Younk, who retired from Ford Motor Credit Co.
“In 2014, my husband was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis,” Joyce Younk said. “He was on a lung transplant list until he took his name off after I went to the hospital for emergency surgery at the end of 2016.”
Over the next several months, Joyce Younk rotated between hospitals and rehabilitation, not knowing when she would be able to come home. In the meantime, she realized her husband’s condition was worsening, and he needed assistance as well. She remembers calling three or four agencies before hiring Beaumont caregivers who met their needs.
“We got along well,” she said.
By August, the time had finally come for Younk to go home after a lengthy rehabilitation.
“Both spouses needed care,” said Marcia Filek, director of private duty and geriatric care management for Beaumont Personal Assistance Services. “This is where care management and coordination become so critical. It’s important to fully meet the needs of each person.”
Younk went home on Aug. 28 to be with her husband, who was receiving hospice care at home and Beaumont Personal Assistance Services. He died a few days later in early September.
“During this very difficult and emotional time, we worked out a schedule to help Joyce and her family through this difficult transition,” Filek said. The Younks have four adult children, two of whom live close by and the others out of state.
Beaumont now provides a team of six aides who rotate shifts to help Younk 12 hours a day, seven days a week Filek said.
“My helpers provide much more than personal assistance. They’re very friendly and well trained,” Younk said. “They also help me care for my dog by letting her outside when she needs to go.”
Even though Younk is no longer able to play the piano, she keeps a positive attitude and maintains her independence by staying in touch with family, friends and a variety of topics through social media, email and the Internet. She also enjoys watching home decorating shows on TV.
“I’d like to talk with them about building houses that are more wheelchair and handicap accessible to make it easier for people like me to stay at home,” Younk said.
“It’s easy to see that Joyce is a very knowledgeable and social person who understands how important caregiving and companionship are to quality of life,” Filek added. “Beaumont is glad we can be there for her.”
Beaumont Personal Assistance Services, formerly Senior Care Solutions, by Oakwood, offers geriatric care assessments and case management services along with in home, non-medical and personal care services for seniors and post trauma patients. Services are available throughout the five-county area of Wayne, Oakland, Washtenaw, Monroe and Macomb.
For more information, call 866-776-1869 or go to www.OakwoodSeniorSolutions.org.