Ruth and José Sosa (pictured left) have each lived through the long decline of a beloved parent – and both are grateful to Samaritan for its life-changing support.
The couple cared for Ruth’s mother in their Westampton, N.J., home for four years before the 93-year-old’s death from lung cancer in April 2016. And they frequently had helped José’s parents, as his frail father gradually succumbed to dementia several years before.
“I called Samaritan out of desperation,” says Ruth, recalling when she reached her breaking point as her mom’s round-the-clock caregiver. “I hadn’t slept. I was exhausted. I was panicked.”
Within 24 hours, Samaritan got Ruth’s mom – Ruth Miller – into respite care. “It was my first break in four years,” says the devoted daughter. “I told Mom we would never put her in a nursing home, but we could not have kept her at home with us without the support from Samaritan.”
After a five-day stay at a local assisted-living center, the elder Ruth returned to her daughter’s home, where Samaritan provided ongoing support.
“It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders,” explains Ruth Sosa, a substitute teacher and local musician. “Samaritan provided a nurse, social worker, home health aide, volunteers, and equipment. I learned how to care for Mom myself; they showed me how to do it all!”
Samaritan was also there for the Sosa family about five years before, when José’s elderly father grew increasingly incapacitated. His mother – a retired nurse – tapped Samaritan’s in-home hospice care.
“They were fantastic,” says José, a former N.J. state assemblyman and Mount Holly mayor and councilman who now works as an insurance broker and consultant. “Dad’s needs were different because he had dementia. The Samaritan home health aide would talk and sing to him. It was also a benefit for my mother; it was another voice in the room.”
When patriarch Francisco Sosa-León (left) passed away in his Pemberton home at age 87, “he went in a very good and peaceful way,” recalls José. He credits Samaritan for keeping his dad comfortable and pain-free to the end, and for providing deep emotional support to his mom.
“At first, I was reluctant to have healthcare workers coming in and out of our home,” recalls Ruth. “But hospice care was not what I thought it would be. The nurses and aides were such a wonderful, compassionate group!”
(left) Ruth Miller
Ruth found she could call any time – even in the middle of the night – and get help. And she enjoyed the home visits by Samaritan’s spiritual support counselors, who would include her in the conversation. “I didn’t feel so isolated,” she says.
“The Samaritan people are not pushy,” adds José. “They’re understanding. Nothing was impossible for them. And they all had good things to say about each other, which put me at ease.”
Those qualities enabled Ruth’s mother and José’s father to remain in their own homes to the end.
Says Ruth: “I could not have delivered on that promise without Samaritan.