4 Card Birthday Mama

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OWOSSO – Bernice Schultz admired active her PT Cruiser and bed-making and crocheting afore she developed dementia and went to alive in an assisted active ability about bristles years ago. 

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Schultz was in her allowance at Memorial Healthcare’s 39-bed long-term-care assemblage in mid-March back the Owosso-based ability abandoned patients to assure them from the coronavirus. 

Bernice Schultz stands abutting to some of the 54 altogether cards she accustomed from friends, ancestors and abounding bodies she never met before. She is in abreast at her assisted active ability in Owosso. (Photo: Photo address of Memorial Healthcare)

The abreast came a anniversary afore Schultz’s 91st birthday. Her daughter, Diane Larobardiere, afraid about how the abreast would affect her mother’s big day on March 23.  

“I acquainted abhorrent and sad. She relies on me,” said Larobardiere. “We had a big affair aftermost year with my mom and her accompanying sister, Berneda Reed. It was a big dinner.”

Things would be altered this year, Larobardiere realized. But that didn’t beggarly she couldn’t still accomplish this one of her mother’s best birthdays yet. She got to work. 

What do I do? Larobardiere wondered. 

“Flowers!” she said. But no florist would accelerate flowers during the pandemic. 

Then it came to her. Larobardiere went on Facebook and asked her accompany and ancestors to anniversary accelerate a altogether agenda to her mother. The acknowledgment was overwhelming.

Each day, Schultz accustomed a altogether card. Abounding of the cards came from bodies she didn’t alike know. Schultz now has 54 altogether cards in her possession.

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“She was afraid by it,” said Larobardiere. “We don’t accept a big family. It’s aloof myself, my two boys and her accompanying sister. She usually alone gets bristles cards at the best on her birthday. She was actual excited.”

Bernice Schultz and her accompanying sister Berneda Reed. (Photo: Photo address of Diane Larobardiere)

Prior to affective into assisted living, Schultz did amount for a badge administration in Shiawassee Canton and handled afterlife certificates for the canton courthouse.

She additionally spent time with her grandsons and babysat them back Larobardiere was working. 

“She was a acceptable mom,” Larobardiere said. “We were added like sisters than mother and daughter. We were consistently abutting in aggregate we did.”

Bernice Schultz and her daughter, Diane Larobardiere in 2019 afore the pandemic. (Photo: Photo address of Diane Larobardiere)

The two took a cruise to Ireland back Schultz angry 75. They additionally enjoyed canning appurtenances and belief ancestry together. 

“She has been bedridden the aftermost few years,” Larobardiere said, “which is adamantine to see back they go through that. It’s a sad disease. She has her acceptable canicule and bad days, but she has added bad days.” 

“That’s why the cards were so nice,” she added. “She enjoyed that.”

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Schultz connected accepting altogether cards continued afterwards her birthday. The aftermost came on April 3. But a few still may be coming. 

“We’re activity to go through all of the cards afterwards the quarantine,” said Larobardiere, who affairs to acquaint her mother about all the bodies who beatific them. 

The cards weren’t the alone ability Schultz received. 

There would be added surprises in abundance for both Schultz and her daughter. 

Long-term-care assemblage agents accept consistently planned altogether parties for anniversary resident.

They’d get cakes, cupcakes and allure ancestors and friends. Agents would usually accompany in too. 

Since ample gatherings weren’t on the table, Memorial Healthcare’s Life Enrichment Coordinator Tricia Thomas absitively to assignment with the assets she had. 

Bernice Schultz and her ancestors in 2019 afore the pandemic. (Photo: Photo address of Diane Larobardiere)

“Residents are abandoned to their rooms,” Thomas said. “So, we got families on Facetime and had them sing appropriate forth with us.”

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When Schultz’s altogether came around, Thomas accomplished out to Larobardiere.

“I had never (Facetimed) before,” said Larobardiere. “A brace of the girls got us started. My mom was afraid to see me on the buzz like that. It was absurd to accomplish abiding she didn’t feel isolated. It formed out acceptable for her.”

Staff additionally absitively to accord Schultz a appropriate gift. 

“We accord anniversary citizen a allowance appropriate to their personality, such as adornment or a blanket,” said Thomas. “Bernice got a butterfly chaplet with gems. She consistently has her beard done and composition on. That was appropriate up her alley.”

“She was so happy; she cried,” Thomas added. “She admired the attention. She kept adage how blessed she was anybody did this. She acquainted special.”

Contact LSJ anchorman Kristan Obeng at KObeng@lsj.com or 517-267-1344. Follow her on Twitter @KrissyObeng.

Support bounded journalism:Subscribe to LSJ today. 

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