Impact Stories: Nellie Speights and Johnnie Holloway08/30/2016

Impact Stories: Nellie Speights and Johnnie Holloway

Nellie Speights has hair as white as snow and an even brighter personality at her age of 78. Her son and primary caregiver, Dr. Isaac Williams, is extremely thankful for the Senior Companion Program at Council on Aging of West Florida. When Ms. Nellie's health started to decline in Georgia with progressions in dementia, Dr. Williams sought to have his mother move to Pensacola, FL to live with him and his wife. Dr. Williams, a pastor, and his wife both working full time quickly realized they needed assistance and someone to help Ms. Nellie with everyday tasks.

"I think the program is very advantageous for my mother in that if she's home alone,"said Dr. Williams, "her mind will wonder and that's not good for her. I would love for her to be able to stay in her own home alone as well, but the doctor said she can't do that. By my mother having a senior companion, it keeps her active and independent."

Johnnie Holloway, 75, very much enjoys being a senior companion. Ms. Nellie has also taken quite the liking to Ms. Johnnie. "Both me and Ms. Johnnie are in the same boat,"said Ms. Nellie, "We get along so good. She is a sister to me."

The two ladies spend most of their days together going to the grocery store, spending time at the Cobb center, and conversing on the back porch. "Ms. Johnnie and my mother can relate and understand each other," said Dr. Williams, "She takes her to the doctor, takes her to get her medicine, go to the Cobb Center. They can talk about women stuff where I can't relate to her in that area."

Ms. Nellie has also shown an improvement in health since being paired with Ms. Johnnie as her senior companion. "When we brought my mama down to Pensacola about a year and a half ago, she was in pretty bad shape," said Dr. Williams, "The doctor said she looks remarkably well now and I think that's because of the Senior Companion Program and Ms. Johnnie. My mama's medicine used to be all mixed up. Ms. Johnnie insures my mother takes her medicine right and by having someone to help her with this, that keeps my mother looking and feeling good."

The Senior Companion Program has been described as a true blessing for everyone involved in Ms. Nellie's life. "I like that she has someone here while my wife and I are both working full time. I don't have to worry about her leaving the stove on or leaving the door open. You couldn't ask for a better person for my mother than Ms. Johnnie. She is caring, considerate, waits on her head on toe, cook her breakfast...whatever she needs, she is there for my mama. It's a tremendous burden off of me knowing my mama is in a safe place with a safe companion who treats her just like a sister."

To learn more about the Senior Companion Program, give us a call at (850) 432-1475.

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