A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Caregivers start ‘Friendsgiving for Frank’ to help man who is disabled, lives alone and needs assistance

What if you are confined to a wheelchair, live alone, and have no family? How do you get your mail? Take out your trash cans? Get to the basement to do laundry? Find a way to a local food bank?

That’s the situation the staff of Homewatch CareGivers of Northern Kentucky found when they responded to a call from “Frank,” looking for companion care and help with daily tasks.

“Sometimes you receive a call from someone who strikes a chord with you,” says Homewatch President Stacey Thornberry. “We went to Frank’s two-story house located just off of Turkeyfoot Road to find a dwelling in disarray. This kind-hearted man let relatives live in his home while he resided a bit in a nursing home, and these people trashed Frank’s house.”

Frank has found some friends. . .

Frank cordons off the unusable part of his home with a threadbare sheet, living only in the kitchen and adjacent bedroom. The rest of the house is uninhabitable.

“This is a situation where we thought we could reward his kindness to others with some kindness toward him,” said Homewatch’s Director of Quality and Finance Mollie Erpenbeck. “Frank does not complain about his situation, but we know he is about to take out a bank loan to pay his $1,300 property tax bill, has only a thin sheet on his bed as winter approaches and is stocked with just a couple of cans in his pantry for the coming month. He relies on us to take out his trash, fetch the mail when neighbors can’t do it, and grocery shop every couple of weeks for simple canned goods and inexpensive produce.”

For Frank, the trek to the basement to do laundry can be treacherous. Megan Jones, director of clients and caregiver service, guides him down when he needs to make machine repairs, gently lifting his legs one by one to traverse each step.

“I enjoy my visits with Frank,” says Megan. “We get all his needs taken care of and then we enjoy spending time talking about the good old days when he was a diesel mechanic. He loves when Homewatch comes!”

“It is so touching to see how my staff go out of their way to assist Frank,” says Stacey.

Stacey and Mollie met with employees and decided to launch, “Friendsgiving For Frank.” It highlights the challenge of disabled individuals trying to get to a food bank, especially during the time when America celebrates Thanksgiving.

In addition to funds for Frank’s tax bill, Friendsgiving for Frank seeks donations of canned goods, warm blankets, and funds to purchase other necessities Frank lacks.

Stacey says, “One of the biggest blessings for us is that other companies wouldn’t treat Frank with respect. But my caregivers genuinely sit down with him and have conversations. We are in this to help as much as we can and it’s heartwarming to see how much he loves the company. We all pitch in to help him—all of us in the office as well as our companion caregivers.

“This is an opportunity to extend friendship and kindness and also bring attention to those among us who may be disabled and alone. Imagine living by yourself with no people to speak with all day? There are far too many individuals like this amongst us. Perhaps Friendsgiving For Frank will help people become aware of others living in our neighborhoods who hunger for companionship and basic assistance.”

To donate funds, canned goods/non-perishable food, socks, warm blankets, toilet paper or medium-sized white and long-sleeved T-shirts to Friendsgiving For Frank, phone Homewatch CareGivers of Northern Kentucky at (859) 927-3566 or stop by their offices during business hours at 71 Cavalier Blvd., Suite 216 in Florence.

The Friendsgiving For Frank campaign runs through November 25.

Homewatch Caregivers

Related Posts

Leave a Comment