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A Shadow Box for Buried Treasures

Caregiving is a job. But it comes with opportunities to step beyond the usual role and do things that are extraordinary. Here’s the story of what one thoughtful Help at Home caregiver did for one client that boosted his spirits and made a difference in how he feels about his life.

Photo of Robert and Special Olympics medals

Robert Peglow is 58 years old. He used to live with his mother, until she died, and then he briefly lived with another family member. But for the past five years he has been in supported living with Help at Home in South Bend, Indiana.

Robert is a very active person. He has worked in the same restaurant for 19 years, primarily as a busser. He lifts weights at the gym twice a week, rides a horse once a week, and likes to ride his bike as well.

Recently, Robert got a new dresser. His house manager, Sylvia Kimbel, was helping him transfer his things from the old dresser into the new one when she came across some Special Olympics medals from the 1980s and 1990. They were for weightlifting and track and field events.

Sylvia has been with Help at Home for 11 years, and stands out as a compassionate caregiver who connects with her clients and is always trying to find ways to make life better for them. She makes sure they have Christmas and birthday cards and gifts every year; she helps them organize holiday celebrations and parties. So when she saw those medals, she saw an opportunity to make a difference for Robert.

On her own, without telling Robert, she took the medals to a picture framer who worked with her to create a way to display them. Then she surprised Robert with the framed medals and hung them on the wall. He was thrilled. He felt proud to remember all those achievements.

Physical activity is still important to Robert. Now every day he is reminded of how he excels.