What is the secret to a good, long life?

At 96 years old, I get asked that question a lot. My answer? Having people who care about you along the way.

I was fortunate to be married for 41 years. My late husband and I had five children and enjoyed many friendships. And I have had a nice retirement after working for an airline and a local college.

But now, at my age – as you can imagine – life has its challenges. Thankfully, my life is still filled with people who care about me. In addition to three wonderful daughters and a grandson, I am so grateful for the people at Catholic Health.

I am part of the LIFE Program, which is a PACE service – that stands for Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. And that means I get to stay in the apartment I’ve loved for nearly 20 years. They take care of just about everything for me, from doctor appointments to transportation. Nurses organize and take care of my medications. Two of the most friendly aides you’d ever want to meet help with day to day tasks such as dinner and getting ready for bed.

That’s not all. I also have the benefit of visiting the LIFE Day Center at least once a week. It’s in the OLV Senior Neighborhood in Lackawanna. I can see Dr. Amy Becker there and get help with medical concerns. I can enjoy recreational and educational activities such as watching movies or playing cards. I’m even meeting new people. I recently got to know a friend who is 98…someone older than me! Once again, at the center, I’m surrounded by amazing, caring people.

Perhaps best of all are my visits from Rev. Jean O’Brien. Rev. Jean is a chaplain with Continuing and Home Care and stops to visit with me every couple of weeks. I can talk with her about anything – she’s a great listener. We have become very close and I really look forward to her visits.

Honoring Dr. Becker & Rev. O’Brien on Doctors’ Day

I want to recognize Dr. Becker and Rev. Jean on National Doctors’ Day. It’s a celebration of those who care for patients like me. Even though Rev. Jean is not a doctor per se, she cares for my spiritual well-being. That’s as important as any medicine I might take.

Maybe you have had a similar great experience with caregivers at Continuing and Home Care. I am writing this letter to ask you to please consider supporting the Continuing and Home Care Foundation with a donation. It is a great opportunity to celebrate your caregivers and recognize how much they have meant to you.

As someone who has lived for nearly a century, I can tell you the people at Continuing and Home Care are unique and special. Won’t you join me in acknowledging their efforts? While you’re thinking about it, please consider making a donation today. Every contribution is appreciated.

– Betty Cantillon

Donate to the Catholic Health System
Continuing Care Foundation

A Letter from Rev. Jean O’Brien

I have had the privilege of visiting Betty since I began my chaplaincy position in Home & Community Based Care. Over those years, I have sat with Betty in her home, visited her when she was hospitalized, and have been able to meet her three daughters that she cherishes deeply. Betty and I have developed a great relationship and have shared tears, laughter, and faith. Although I am honored that Betty recognized me for Doctor’s Day, I truly feel that I should be the one celebrating her. She is quite an amazing woman and I look forward to every visit I have with her.

Since Betty and others that I visit are in their own place of residence, they are more comfortable and willing to share their life stories, concerns, faith, struggles, achievements, blessings, and some of the most painful and joyous events in their lives. Home & Community Based Care provides an outreach to those who would otherwise get lost in the transitions from health, sickness, and death.

It is because of the support of our community that I have the opportunity to be a part of the lives of so many special people, like Betty. I will forever be grateful for those that generously assist us in this effort with a gift to the foundation.

– Rev. Jean O’Brien, Chaplain

A Letter from Dr. Amy Becker

I love working in the LIFE program because it gives me the ability to treat the whole patient: their clinical needs, their emotional needs, their joys, their fears, their concerns, their wishes for the future. It involves getting to know the person, not just the patient. We encourage them to function to the best of their ability, as limited as it sometimes becomes. We get to know their families, their friends, their life stories, and most importantly, what their desires are for living the rest of their lives. We do everything possible to make sure that every patient feels safe, comfortable and happy.

The LIFE program helps patients function at home for as long as they possibly can. It helps our patients and their families make decisions that are effective and efficient without worrying about insurance implications. Keeping patients at home is less expensive than hospital or institutional care. It is the true definition of “value-based care” that we hear so much about in healthcare these days.

Taking care of our patients is a privilege and an honor that I take very seriously. Knowing that Betty shares in this satisfying relationship makes me extremely happy and proud. If you feel that your physician or caregiver has made an impact, I hope you let us know. This feedback makes the job we love even more meaningful.

– Dr. Amy Becker, LIFE Program