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Reducing Caregiver Stress

Reducing Caregiver Stress

by Elaine Witt

First, her mother fell and broke her hip, leading to a partial joint replacement. Then she fell again, this time fracturing her arm. That was when Maria Whiting knew it was time to move her mother, 79-year-old Blanche Taylor, from her from her home in Pensacola to Birmingham, where Maria has lived since the late 1990s.

“At first, I brought her home to live with me, and then it wasn’t very long until an apartment opened up for her at Episcopal Place,” Maria said. When she and her mother were signing the papers for Episcopal Place, a subsidized senior housing community off Highland Avenue, the staff recognized Mrs. Taylor’s frailty and recommended the CJFS Personal Care program.

Through the Personal Care program, CJFS Personal Care Attendant Tasha Womack cleans Mrs. Taylor’s apartment, does her laundry and changes her sheets each week. By performing these tasks, Tasha helps Mrs. Taylor avoid future injuries, allowing her to live independently.

Just as important, perhaps, is Tasha’s role in reducing Mrs. Taylor’s social isolation.

“She really does love the experience of having another person she can see once a week, besides me,” says Maria, who as an only child has looked after her mother for decades. “I did not realize how social my mother was until Covid came, and it really kind of hit her spirits hard. I just didn’t realize how critical it was to her well being,” she said. “My mom loves Tasha. Tasha is a gentle spirit, and she definitely has a lot of patience with my mom.”

The service is a huge help for Maria, whose full-time job, combined with her caregiving role, can keep her running. “I still pick up my mother’s groceries and medicine and all, but with Tasha coming, there’s a lot less I have to do as far as keeping two places clean. It gives me a break, and it’s affordable for us.”

An unexpected bonus, Maria said, is having a little time to just sit and talk with her mom. “She tells me things about her life,” she said, “and there’s a lot I didn’t know about my mother’s life.”

For more information about the CJFS Personal Care program, call us at 205.879.3438 or email