Charity Assistance and Health Care Connection

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Celebrating Excellent Care knows no boundaries

In 1994, Eileen Hamilton and I retired from a defense contractor north of Baltimore, Md. Eileen had worked there as an executive secretary for 16 years, and I as an engineering executive for 38 years. We married a year later and moved into my home in Rehoboth. Eileen had three grown children from her previous marriage: Charles, Tim and Caroline. They visited us often with their children.

Eileen got a job as a part-time secretary at Delaware Tech, and I renovated two fishing shacks I owned in Broadkill Beach. By 1998, Eileen started having difficulty remembering things. She lost her job, and I convinced her to stay home. Her doctor reassured us, attributing her memory problems to menopause. Since she was only 52 years old, it took two years for neurologists to confirm that Eileen had Alzheimer’s disease. Her mother and two aunts also had Alzheimer’s. Her mini-mental exam score went from 28 to 12.

In 2003, I registered her for Beebe Gull House, an adult day care center with many Alzheimer’s patients. She went there three days a week, which gave me some time to do things that she was no longer capable of doing and to take care of my own health problems. I also got my commercial driver’s license and took busloads of Gull House patients on day trips about once a month as a Beebe volunteer. Gull House also had occasional receptions and parties for the patients’ families which Eileen’s children and grandchildren attended. Eileen passed away in 2007.

Recently, her son Tim visited me and told me he had been donating to Gull House for years because he was impressed by the care the staff had shown his mother. Having been involved with the Celebrate Excellent Care Program since its start, I thought this was an unusual donation since he is from out of state and because he was donating to a facility rather than a Beebe team member or members.

Giving this annual gift to Beebe is Tim’s way of remembering his mom and saying thank you to the Gull House for the extraordinary care and compassion shown to his mom. Tim knew it was important to continue to give and support such a needed service to those families who struggle with Alzheimer’s. Beebe’s Gull House is a safe and beautiful place for loved ones and their caregivers to get support, excellent care, and the courage to stay strong.

“We receive a lot of donations from family members who are so grateful for Beebe’s Gull House,” said Judy Aliquo, president and CEO of Beebe Medical Foundation. “Many times, Gull House provides the opportunity for a caregiver to get some relief and get out doing everyday tasks like grocery shopping and going to doctor’s appointments. We even have visitors for the summer who are able to bring a loved one with dementia on vacation, knowing that Gull House is available during the day.”

As a community-owned, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe continues to depend on the generous support of individuals, corporations, businesses, and private foundations. All gifts, large or small, to Beebe Healthcare, are tax deductible and are channeled through Beebe Medical Foundation.

Shown above are Kathleen Graham Frey, manager of the Gull House, and Robert Schnepfe.

To make your proud personal donation or to learn more about Celebrate Excellent Care, go online to www.beebemedicalfoundation.org/cec or contact the Beebe Medical Foundation at (302) 644-2900 or write to foundation@beebehealthcare.org.