by Melissa Kalicicki, Annual Gifts Officer
Sitting down with Barbara Reed is like meeting a friend you have missed all your life. Within her lies a treasure chest of experience, both worldwide and locally, both professionally as a psychiatric registered nurse and as a caregiver. It was her honesty that humbled me the most, a willingness to share the pain, the joy, and the emotional parts of her journey.
Barbara grew up on a farm near Elizabethtown as the youngest of 10 children. She met the love of her life, Harold Reed, at Lancaster Mennonite High School. “I never dated anyone else,” she says with a smile.
Throughout their 62 years of marriage, they served both locally and internationally. She became a registered nurse while Harold pursued multiple degrees in ministry. They had four children, one son and three daughters. They moved to Landis Homes in 2007, but in 2008 Harold was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“Initially, life could still go on as fairly normal, but as the disease progressed, Harold needed more care,” Barbara says. “Before his admission to full-time care in Lititz House, Harold wakened me very early one morning, quite out of the ordinary. ‘I just don’t understand (memory lapses, confusion, etc.)’ he said. Realizing his distress, I wanted so much to say something comforting but mere words were inadequate and I was speechless. Then Harold began to pray for me! He prayed that God would ‘give Barbara joy’ and that God would ‘help Barbara to do what she needed to do.’ His prayer complete, he sang, ‘Praise to God, Immortal Praise, for the love that crowns our days. Bounteous source of ev’ry joy, let thy praise our tongues employ.’ It was a holy moment I will never forget; a special gift God gave for the future.”
Harold moved to his final place in Ephrata House in 2014. Barbara carried a heavy load of financial stress coupled with the emotional stress of caregiving. After the available limit for Long Term Care Insurance was reached, she submitted the paperwork for Medicaid, but even Medicaid didn’t cover the full cost.
“The Caring Fund was a great blessing when it was applied to Harold’s care. I will always be grateful for the loving and excellent care he received and the invaluable relationships with his caregivers even after he died in 2017. If others are unsure of giving to the Caring Fund, I would encourage them. It’s a most worthy cause,” Barbara shared.
One of the ways you can assist residents who face challenges like Barbara did with Harold’s care is through “Fill the Gap”, an opportunity to give during the Fellowship Day Benefit Auction on Saturday, September 8, 2018.
Started at the 2011 Benefit Auction, Fill the Gap has grown from providing 31 days of care to providing 330 days of care in 2017. This year, a $151 gap exists between what Medicaid covers and what eligible residents can afford to pay. You can be a part of the community’s response to this need by donating half a day, a day, several days or one entire week of care. Your gifts to Fill the Gap not only alleviate financial stress but give comfort to caregivers as well.
If you are unable to attend the Benefit Auction, you can still donate online HERE or by contacting Advancement at (717) 509-5490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.