Click on the video above to watch Jim Woods' incredible journey after having a stroke.
Stroke: Resident makes miraculous hospice recovery [video]
For many, having a stroke can have devastating, if not fatal, consequences.
When Jim Woods, 93, had a massive stroke, he was not expected to live.
But hospice and therapy services Jim received at Good Samaritan Society – Shakamak Retirement Community in Jasonville, Indiana, provided the hope, help and healing that he needed not only to survive, but to thrive.
An active life
Prior to his stroke, Jim led an active life. He loved to hunt and would go out with his nephews several times a week. Mark Miller says his uncle could out-hike them, even at 89 years old.
He was also working on cars until the day he had the stroke. And he was caring for his wife, Mary, who had dementia.
After his stroke, Jim received hospice care for more than a year at the nursing home where his wife lived. He also received therapy, but he was not expected to survive.
When Mary had to move to receive additional care, he chose Shakamak Retirement Community in Jasonville, Indiana, as his next home.
It was then that his prognosis took a turn for the better.
From hospice to hope
The consistency of care given to Jim and other Shakamak residents by area hospice providers is what has helped them graduate from hospice, says Sherry Sapp, director of social services at Shakamak Retirement Community.
“His family is convinced that if he came to us earlier, he would’ve done better sooner and had an even more successful recovery,” she says.
When he no longer needed hospice services, Jim received therapy from Aegis Therapy group, the contracted provider. They worked extensively with him to help him recover from his stroke.
“The family was so happy with what he received from our Aegis Therapy group,” says Sherry.
Attitude is everything
Mark describes his uncle as always smiling and gregarious. He makes the most of every moment and has a laugh that’s contagious.
His uncle has established bonds with the staff members and enjoys regular visits with family and friends.
“Every Thursday, the guys go and get him and take him out to lunch," says Mark’s wife, Jan. "He makes sure they bring back doughnuts for the staff."
His attitude is one reason he’s been able to overcome the difficulties in his life. He always strives to make things better, smile through the tough times and make others feel better.” – Mark Miller, nephew of Jim Woods
Staff members key to recovery
Jan says two staff members at Shakamak Retirement Community stand out for the care they provide Jim. One is Kim Hineman, a nurse on the day shift who cares for Jim.
“She’s been amazing keeping us in the loop, and with the care she provides,” says Jan. "She understands what he needs and what the family needs. We can’t thank her enough. She’s been a true blessing.”
The other staff member is Elizabeth Ballone, a speech pathologist.
“Elizabeth is wise and experienced. She’s amazing,” Jan says. “She worked hard with the VA to get Jim a computer to provide him with speech therapy he could do on his own so he could communicate with people."
Kim and Elizabeth have always gone above and beyond.” – Jan Miller
Mark and Jan say there are several others who have been really good to Jim.
“If I call Billie Kennett, I know I’ll get an answer immediately," says Jan. “If we have a problem, we can call her."
Jim is happy and pleased with the care he receives at Shakamak, says Sherry.
'Just the kind of person he is'
Jim grew up in nearby Gilmour, Indiana, and graduated from Dugger High School. Like many young men in the 1940s, he went off to war. He fought on the beaches of Normandy, and in the course of serving his country, he was wounded and received a Purple Heart.
After his military service, he met and married Mary. They were an active couple who liked to water ski and ride motorcycles. Mary was a champion race car driver and Jim was her mechanic. They did lots of different types of things to keep active. They weren’t able to have children, but they were close to their nephews, says Mark.
“After my grandfather died, Jim agreed to go with his wife (my aunt) to live with my grandmother to take care of her,” says Mark. “Without hesitation, without negativity. That’s just the kind of person that he is.”
Jim’s positive attitude and love for life haven't waned. He survived and is thriving because of the quality care he’s received. And he and his family couldn't be more grateful.