Linda Olivia: Lightening Loads and Brightening Lives

Linda Olivia: Lightening Loads and Brightening Lives

Marie Smith Center Lightens the Load and Brightens Lives

Linda Olivia is not sure how she would manage without the compassionate and professional staff at Marie Smith Center (MSC).  Linda is a licensed adult foster care provider and the primary caregiver for Jeannie Aviles (Jeannie is seated left, Linda on right in photo).

After Jean suffered a heart attack and brainstem stroke, she became so incapacitated and emotionally distraught that her family was unable to care for her. Nine years ago, Linda was called in to take over.

"When I first met Jeannie, she was extremely depressed and incommunicative." Linda recalled. "It wasn't until she started going to the Marie Smith Center (MSC) in 2001, that I began to notice a remarkable change in her physical and emotional well-being. None of the other agencies we tried felt qualified to care for Jeannie. MSC has been a life-saver."

"Most seniors have worked their whole lives with certain patterns in their day—getting up, dressing, and going off for the day," Linda added. "Suddenly, they’re incapacitated and lose that familiar continuity in their lives. That's when depression sets in." 

When Linda asks Jeannie what she likes about going to MSC, she answers, “I like it because it occupies me, gives me something to look forward to. I like the games and music and the big dog that comes to visit." 

"Jeannie never would have been able to recall her day, much less communicate her feelings about it," Linda said. "Now that she is able to socialize and be involved in stimulating activities like Bingo and singing, her whole outlook has changed.

Thanks to the MSC scholarship fund, Jeannie is able to attend four days a week.  Without that extra financial support, her time would be limited to only two days.

"Jeannie needs a lot of care and I'm only one person," Linda said. "I'm so grateful to everyone at MSC. They not only make life brighter for Jeannie, they give me a chance to recharge during the day so I can give her my best when she comes home. I can't thank them enough!"