May 10

Clinton resident receives statewide honor for family caregiving

Date: May 10, 2018 | Category: News

Doris Hudgens of Clinton has received statewide recognition for her dedication in caring for her elderly mother, Lila.
Doris was named the April Caregiver of the Month by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. That recognition makes Hudgens a nominee for the Caregiver of the Year Award to be named in December.
Roy Qualls, Care Connection for Aging Services Henry County Care Manager, nominated Doris for the honor.
“Doris and Lila come into the Clinton Senior Center daily for lunch. I always observe Doris communicating with the deepest respect and dignity for her mother. She is very patient and respectful with her mother when challenges occur throughout the day,” Qualls said in his nomination.
Hudgens has been caring for 92-year-old Lila for three years. Mentally sharp and determined, Lila remains independent in her own Clinton apartment. Lila has neuropathy and relies on a wheel chair to get around in public; at home, she manages with a walker.
“Without hesitation, Doris contributes lovingly as a daughter and significantly as a caregiver with her mother. Her proactive attitude enables her mother to maintain a productive and meaningful life with dignity and respect,” Qualls said.
Every morning, Doris goes to Lila’s apartment, makes coffee and gets her dressed before the two watch “Wheel of Fortune.” Hudgens takes Lila to the senior center, where they eat lunch and visit with friends.
The two women get their hair done weekly or attend a doctor’s appointment. They return to Lila’s apartment, and Doris leaves for a bit before she returns to Lila’s. The daughter prepares dinner, dresses Lila and puts her to bed for the night. She sets out breakfast for her mother before she leaves. Doris also helps with baths, medication management, dishes, vacuuming and taking out the trash.
“A lot of people do not realize how much work goes into caregiving until they are put into the situation. I don’t feel like I’m an expert at this; I just do what feels right, by doing right by my mother,” Doris said. “I admire anyone who is a caregiver, knowing how much of yourself that goes into it. I am very fortunate to have a mother who is easy to work with. Mom is still of sound mind and engages in activities that keep her brain active.”
Lila is an avid Kansas City Royals fan and enjoys reading the newspaper and maintaining her iris garden. The mother and daughter enjoy car rides through the country and dinner out at Golden Corral.
“As a caregiver, I have learned to appreciate what other caregivers have gone through. I appreciate my mother more and have grown closer to her. I have learned to appreciate each day as it comes along,” Doris said.
As a member of the Care Connection Care Management Team, Qualls has information and access to programs and services to support Doris and other caregivers like her through the National Family Caregiver Support Program.
Doris credits Care Connection for Aging Services for all of the support they provide to her, she said.