A to Z Blog Challenge – Y is for Yolanda


Yolanda looked up as the main doors opened. She was in the process of helping one of the patients walk down the hallway.

“That’s it, Mrs. Landry,” she said.

Yolanda smiled at a young couple as they walked by her with a young girl and a toddler in his stroller. Several of the patients were excited to see the children. They kept stopping the young couple to smile, wave at or talk to the children and their parents.

“Okay, Mrs. Landry,” Yolanda said, “Here we are. I thought you might like to sit next to Adelaide.”

“Thank you,” Mrs. Landry said, as she let Yolanda settle her in the chair. Yolanda picked up a nearby light-weight blanket and tucked it around Mrs. Landry’s legs.

Yolanda did a quick scan of the area to make sure none of the other patients needed anything. She straightened a pillow behind Mr. Stevens’ back and patted his hand when he smiled up at her. She headed back to the nurse’s station.

“Anything else need doing, Phyll?” she asked her co-worker Phyllis.

“I think we’re good at the moment,” Phyllis sighed, “A break in the chaos. Whoops, there goes the bell for Mr. Webb’s room.”

“I’ll get it,” Yolanda told her, turning to head back down the hallway.

When she got to the room, she found that the young family who had come in had gone to Mr. Webb’s room.

“Sorry to bother you,” the woman said, “He seems to be out of water.”

“No problem,” Yolanda smiled, “I’ll get him some more.”

She went to fill a Styrofoam cup with ice water. After she’d attached a lid and straw, she took it back to the room.

“… and I went on a school trip this week, Grandpa Barney,” the young girl was chattering away when she went back in.

“I didn’t realize Mr. Webb had grandchildren,” Yolanda smiled.

“Honorary grandchildren,” the mother smiled, “I’m Holly, and this is my husband Joe, daughter Annelise and son Robbie. Annelise adopted Barney in the park a few years ago. They’ve been fast friends since.”

“He has perked up a lot,” Yolanda said. She went over to straighten Mr. Webb’s pillow and lap rug where he sat in his chair.

“He has always had a soft spot for children,” Joe said, “He used to run the hardware store in town – out where the supermarket is now, and he was a big fan of the kids. He’d fix their bikes for free, and they’d stop by there all the time to tell him of their exploits.”

“I never knew that,” Yolanda said, “He’s one of my favorite patients. On his good days, he always has a smile for me. He’s never a bother.” She patted Barney’s shoulder. “Well, I’ll get back to work. You let me know if he needs anything else.”

“Thank you,” Holly said.

“Grandpa Barney, Robbie can say elevator!” Annelise told him as Yolanda walked out.

Yolanda smiled and went back to the nurse’s station.

“What’s so funny?” Phyllis asked her.

“Oh, nothing, I was just smiling at how cute those kids are who are visiting Mr. Webb. I’ve never seen them before.”

“They come in a couple of times a week – usually during the afternoon before you get here. Nice family,” Phyllis said.

“I thought so,” Yolanda said.

She turned as an older male patient shuffled up to the desk to ask for help with a jigsaw puzzle he was working on. She went over to referee what was quickly becoming an arguing match over the puzzle pieces.

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A to Z Blog Challenge – X is for Xavier


Xavier moved down the hallway towards the Crowley apartment, ready to start the week and his shift as an aide working with Mr. Webb, Mrs. Crowley’s father. He had been working in this location for a few months now, and he liked this assignment. Mr. Webb was an older man with Alzheimer’s. While he had at first needed an aide to make sure he did not wander as dementia patients sometimes do, he had lately begun to require an aide to assist more with his daily self-care and maintenance. Xavier found Barney Webb easy to work with.

He rang the bell, and he heard Mrs. Crowley call out, “Dad, Xavier is here!”

He smiled as she opened the door.

“Good morning, Xavier!” she grinned, “Am I glad to see you.”

“Is he having a bad morning?” Xavier asked, putting down his backpack to follow her down the hallway towards Barney’s room.

“Not bad,” she shrugged, “He’s just being a little uncooperative.”

Xavier found Barney still in bed, staring at the wall.

“Hey!” Xavier called out, in a cheerful, teasing tone, “What’s going on here? Why are you still lying about in bed at this hour?”

Barney turned to look at him, and Xavier was pleased to see a smile tugging at the corner of Mr. Webb’s mouth.

“Come on, now,” Xavier cajoled him, “Let’s see how fast we can get you washed up and dressed. I think I smell pancakes!”

Chloe smiled in appreciation. She gazed fondly at her father, and Xavier was sure she winked at him, too, as she turned to go back to the kitchen to finish making breakfast. Xavier bent down to help Barney sit up, and he gently helped him begin the process of getting up and ready to face the day.

During the afternoon, Xavier and Barney headed outside for the park. They walked up and down for a bit so that Barney could get some exercise, and then they sat on the bench watching the birds for a while. It was a fairly quiet day until they saw Annelise approaching.

“Grandpa Barney,” she said, happily, giving him a hug, “Hi, Xavier!”

“Hello, Annelise,” Xavier said.

“I brought my painting,” she said, unfolding the rolled up paper she was holding. “I brought it home from school. It’s you, Grandpa Barney. See? You are sitting here on the bench, and there are the flowers and the trees.”

Barney smiled and turned to look at Xavier.

“No, I’m not in the picture,” Xavier smiled, “It’s very nice, isn’t it?”

Barney smiled and touched the picture.

“I think he likes it,” Xavier told Annelise.

“I want him to have it,” she said, “Can you ask Chloe to hang it on his wall?”

“I surely will,” Xavier promised her.

Later when he took Barney back inside, the first thing they did was hang Annelise’s painting on Barney’s bedroom wall. When Xavier left that afternoon, Barney was sitting in the chair in his room, gazing at the painting on his wall.

Image courtesy of Pinterest


A to Z Blog Challenge – V is for Vince


Vince had a few free minutes of time to spend on a weekday afternoon so he decided to stop by the park to work on the flower beds. Since the park was a community project, volunteers from the community did the upkeep and maintenance of the flowers, shrubs and pathways. They were lucky enough to be sponsored by the local garden supply store, and the store supplied the plants, and store crews kept the grass cut.

The park had turned out to be a great thing for the community. Everyone loved how it looked, and many enjoyed the benefits of the hard work that had been expended. Town residents had planted trees, shrubs, and flowers and built the twisting pathways that ran around the perimeter and between the flower beds and shrubbery.

Vince worked at the delicatessen but had been told many times that he had a true green thumb, and he loved working with flowers.

“The gardens look lovely this year!” Sally at the garden store gushed when he stopped to pick up some flats of petunias for the center flower bed.

“Thanks,” he smiled, “It’s not all me. I’ve had plenty of help. Thank the store for supplying the plants. They do such a great job every year. It’s always a privilege to plant what they provide.”

“I’ll let them know,” she smiled.

When Vince showed up at the park, he spent some time weeding the flower beds out by the Market Street sidewalk. He also did a quick walk-through the entire park and picked up the wrappers and trash lying around.

Then he moved on to the center flower bed, moving his trowel and the flats of flowers to where he could easily reach them. He was planting the petunias when he heard voices approaching.

“And here’s his favorite bench,” a little girl’s voice said, “He likes to sit here when it’s nice out. He feeds the squirrels and watches the birds. When I have my allowance, I bring him ice cream cones. He likes chocolate the best.”

“Would you like to sit here for a while, Mr. Webb?” a younger man’s voice asked.

“He doesn’t answer,” the little girl chattered on, “But it’s okay. He listens a lot.”

“He’s listening to you very closely now,” the younger man said, “He hasn’t taken his eyes off of you.”

“We’re friends,” the little girl said.

Vince stood up so he could move to the other side of the flower bed. He glanced over, curious to see who was talking, and he saw an older man sitting on the park bench. Beside him sat a younger man, dressed in what looked like nurse’s scrubs or a uniform of some sort. In front of the bench a little girl had begun singing to herself as she played hopscotch. The older man watched her intently with a faint smile on his face. Vince nodded to the younger man who waved back.

Vince turned to go back to his gardening, already deep in thought about what he could add to the bed that would work well with the petunias. He thought impatiens would work well in the shade at the base of the tree, and he made a mental note to ask Sally if they had any ready.

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A to Z Blog Challenge – U is for Ursula


Ursula straightened the chairs in front of her small desk as she prepared for her next appointment. The last appointment had been difficult and she hadn’t been able to help the individuals she had met with. The case was still open, but she wasn’t hopeful. She didn’t like leaving things like that, but sometimes it worked out that way.

She sighed and walked over to the window. She had been working as a social worker for the past five years. Sometimes she just wasn’t sure if she was cut out for the job. She got too involved and felt bad when she wasn’t able to match a client up with the services that they needed. She sometimes wondered if she should consider switching careers. She was lost in thought when she heard people approaching.

“This way, Dad,” a woman said in a soothing voice.

Ursula moved over to her desk to pick up the Crowley-Webb file. She looked up to smile as a middle-aged couple came in with an elderly man.

“Hello,” she smiled, “Mr. and Mrs. Crowley? Mr. Webb?”

“David Crowley,” David said, shaking her hand, “This is my wife, Chloe and my father-in-law, Barney Webb.”

“It’s nice to meet you all. Please have a seat.” Ursula waited until they were all seated before she sat down herself. She opened the file and picked up her pen. “Now, before we discuss how we might be able to help, please start by telling me about your current situation.”

Chloe began by explaining where they lived and how the apartment was set up. Then she talked about David’s job and schedule.

“So basically, you, Chloe, are his primary caregiver,” Ursula said, kindly, nodding to Barney.

“Yes,” Chloe said.

“How many times does he get you up at night?” Ursula asked.

“Three or four,” Chloe said.

“Has he ever wandered off or left the house on his own?”

“Just once,” David said, “He wandered away from the park where he likes to sit.”

“We had to call the Police because we couldn’t find him,” Chloe said, sadly, “He was several blocks away trying to find his old store.”

“Store,” Barney said suddenly.

“Yes, Dad,” Chloe said, taking his hand.

“That’s not uncommon for Alzheimer’s patients,” Ursula said, “They often look for places and people they once knew. In their minds, those people and places still exist. What type of help are you looking for?”

“We wanted to hire an aide,” Chloe said.

“I think we can help with that,” Ursula smiled, “I have the paperwork from your father’s Doctor verifying his condition and his needs, and I have the paperwork from David’s insurance company detailing what they will assist with. Let’s talk about possible schedules for aides and what types of eldercare you might like them to provide for your father’s situation other than the obvious – watching him so that he doesn’t wander.”

By the time the Crowley’s and Mr. Webb left her office almost an hour later, they were smiling and feeling much relieved. Ursula herself had a smile on her face, pleased to have helped this family. It really made it all worthwhile when things went so smoothly.

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