Celebrating Senior Champions
Caring for a loved one is a challenging labor of love. Becoming a caregiver for a new friend is something extraordinary. This is just what Bob Shuster did when he moved to Strabane Trails Village.
Over time, Bob became friends with another new resident, Ken. Ken had vision problems as a result of macular degeneration, and later developed mobility issues related to his declining health. Bob helped Ken adjust to his new surroundings. Bob and Ken walked through the building and talked frequently.
When Ken’s wife passed away, Bob, who was also a widower, was there to share their mutual loss. When Ken’s eyesight finally failed, Bob continued to describe the scenery, talk about the flowers, and describe people they passed on their walks.
Bob’s caregiving efforts extend to many of his friends and neighbors. He treats his fellow choir members to special gifts and snacks on practice nights at Houston Methodist Church, where he sang in the choir for more than 35 years. He is also a soloist at John Wesley United Methodist Church. Bob visits seniors in local nursing homes and brings them treats and personal items. He continues to help some of his former neighbors mow the lawn, and trims shrubbery for two elderly former neighbors.
As much as possible, Bob helps to drive people to Wal-Mart and the local drug store. Occasionally he performs a comedy act in church talent shows, and once a year, Bob dons his Santa suit at Christmas to perform at several children’s parties and for his neighbors at Strabane Trails Village.
But Bob's busy schedule never got in the way of his friendship with Ken. Bob took Ken for haircuts and to shop for personal items. As Ken became weaker, Bob pushed him in his wheelchair, and they continued their conversations. Through Bob’s efforts, Ken was able to remain as independent as possible. Bob says, “I think that he knew I was with him,” when Ken passed away in May. Bob was holding Ken’s hand until the end.