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Need to Know

Thelma and Louise

Thelma and Louise could not have asked for a better match. While Thelma is a 97 year-old resident in an assisted living facility and Louise a 24 year-old home caregiver, they spend their days laughing and playing around as old friends would.

Thelma likes to tell her fellow residents that Louise is like her granddaughter; Louise does not only help Thelma bathe, dress, and arrive safely to lunch and dinner but fills her days with youth and laughter that keep Thelma’s mind young and strong. But Thelma and Louise, despite their names, did not always seem like such a heavenly match…

When Thelma first contacted Alvita Care about home caregiving services, Alvita staff thought the sweet and young-spirited caregiver, Louise, was a natural choice. But for the first few days, Thelma thought she would never get used to having Louise around. Thelma and Louise were divided by space and time: Thelma belonged to an old-school groovy set, and this was the space she traversed in her mind and mannerisms. She liked having it her way and had long been accustomed to being on her own. On the other hand, Louise was a tame flower, proper, polite, and not very confrontational. Thelma was not a fan of the idea of needing help: she had lived on her own for the past 15 years and did not require major assistance until a recent slip where she fell and broke her hip.

At first, Thelma liked to largely ignore Louise’s presence–accepting her help only when absolutely necessary. But Louise’s positive attitude was not affected by Thelma’s resistance and sometimes rude comments; she patiently assisted Thelma, giggling at her particularities. What soon brought them together was their strong love for English and Literary arts: Thelma was a retired teacher, and Louise was an aspiring one. They began correcting each other’s grammar to annoy one another, but soon this became their trademark interaction and an ongoing joke.

Today, Thelma and Louise’s differing personalities have come to compliment each other: Louise eases Thelma from nagging and complaining to her fellow residents, and Thelma encourages Louise to take chances and overstep her boundaries. Spending eight hours together every day, they converse about books and movies over coffee and like to share stories from their past. Louise laughs at Thelma for constantly trying to match her up with the young men who work at the facility; “Laugh all you want,” says Thelma, “but if you don’t take ’em, I will!”

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