A Promise Between Friends

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Often times, the care giving role is assumed by a family member, but in George Robinson’s case, he made a promise to his friends, Leonard and Hilda Kaplan, that he intended to keep.

George met the couple while working on their house as a painting contractor. Lifelong Red Sox and Celtics fans, they were generous philanthropists who never sought credit for their acts. They were especially supportive of the Schwartz Center in New Bedford.

Several years ago, Leonard had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Wanting to remain at home, he asked George if he knew of any architects who could build an addition to their home.

Soon Leonard became very sick, and though the addition planning had paid off, it became very apparent that he needed supplemental care. “Because they were married for 50 years, they wanted to stay together as long as they possibly could,” said George. “Leonard was doing everything he could to stay with Hilda.”

Since the Kaplans did not have children or any relatives nearby, George connected with a consultant who pointed them in the direction of Tom Najjar and CarePlus Home Health, Inc.

During this time, Leonard asked George if he would become his healthcare proxy and make the necessary decisions when he became incapacitated. Unfortunately, Leonard’s condition did worsen and Tom in turn provided him caregivers.

“He was very reassuring and on top of it,” said George. “He was always available and since I was completely new at this, it was quite a security blanket.” With a wife and family of his own, George’s tasks became overwhelming, but he knew where to turn for advice.

Right before Leonard passed away, he asked George to look after Hilda who also became ill. George, however, knew exactly who to contact. “The second time around, I had a little more practice and was more confident about what to expect,” he said.

CarePlus provided Hilda with a 24-hour caregiver as well as another who visits for eight hours. If any situation comes up, George is immediately notified. He also received a referral from Tom for a hospice company that comes over once a week.

“I had no idea how intense it was going to get, but he has been a sounding board for me,” said George. “I know she’s getting all of the possible care she can get and she’s at home, which was the ultimate goal.”

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