In October 2013, Ruth Wiles fell and broke her wrist. After having her cast taken off six weeks later, she was excited for her life to start getting back to normal – she was able to start driving her car again around Christmastime.
This story sounds pretty innocuous, until you realize that Ruth Wiles is 93 years old, that she lives independently in her own apartment at Piper Shores, and that her daughter Kathy Stevens describes her as “stronger than ever” after three weeks spent at Holbrook Health Center.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, if she hadn’t had those 23 days at Holbrook, she wouldn’t have recovered as quickly as she did,” Stevens explains.
Mrs. Wiles has lived at Piper Shores since September 2001, a month after its inception. A fiercely independent woman, she did her own research and selected the community herself. She affirms she chose correctly to this day. “I have no complaints,” she shares. “Having all three things under one roof – independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing – I didn’t feel I would ever be a burden to my kids.”
The more you talk to Ms. Wiles, the more her strength, vitality and pride rise to the surface. This is somebody who values doing things her way, in her own time; the last thing she wants is to be a bother. These qualities were truly put to the test in the early morning hours on an October day last fall
“At 4:00 in the morning, I got up to go to the bathroom, the way I always do,” she remembers. “I noticed that after I got to be 90 I began to have a balance problem. I hang onto the walls and all that kind of stuff. That particular morning, I don’t know why, but I fell on the floor and broke my wrist. And so I waited until 7:00AM, and then I called my daughter, and she called the nurse to come up.”
When asked why she’d wait three painful hours to call her daughter for help, her response is amazing – “Well, I didn’t want to wake her up!”
Of course, once Stevens called Holbrook, help immediately swooped in. “When I arrived 10 or 15 minutes later, there was a nurse here assessing her. We called the ambulance, and we were out of here in no time,” Stevens remembers. “She just had a few hours in the ER, and we came right back to Holbrook. And she was sort of kicking and screaming, because she wanted to come to her own apartment. But after a few days, she said to me, ‘Katherine, I have to admit, it’s quite convenient here.’”
“It was very satisfactory,” Wiles says. “I couldn’t ask for better care. They brought my meals to me and cut up all my food in little pieces so I could eat well left-handed. Every time I had to go to the bathroom they’d come and help me in there and help me out. They even gave me showers there, believe it or not!”
But as excellent as the care was, Wiles was homesick. “I was looking forward to getting back and being independent and not having to rely on anybody for any help.”
Thankfully, home was within walking distance. “She was allowed releases, so I’d wheel her over in a wheelchair across the sky bridge,” Stevens shares. “She’d come over and visit her apartment several times a week, just so she could feel at home. We’d stay for an hour or two and look around, sit in her own chair, and then we’d go back over to Holbrook – in time for meals of course!”
Wiles’ stay at Holbrook ended just in time to celebrate her 93rd birthday with friends in the Piper Shores dining room. When they brought the cake out, we’re guessing she blew out all the candles herself.