When a spouse faces health issues, it’s extremely hard on the “well” spouse who is thrust into the role of caregiver. Not only do they face worries about their loved one’s well-being, and the fear of potentially losing them, but there are often financial concerns if the caregiver has to cut back hours or quit outright in order to meet responsibilities at home. The stress, strain and hard work means the person caring for their spouse can suffer their own serious health problems, because they either don’t notice or don’t feel they should take the time to care for themselves.
That was the situation facing Vassel Lewis. He had been caring for his wife Judy for four years, through eight major surgeries. He had to quit work to care for her, so money was tight. And both were facing major weight gain and other health issues.
They spoke with Tasha, the membership director at the Boll Family YMCA, where they had previously been members, and she worked with them on a scholarship plan so they could rejoin. It was an investment in their well-being mentally and physically, and it’s one that’s paid off. “I believe we are obligated to do everything in our power to utilize this great opportunity to regain our health back and since we have joined the center we have been committed to this task,” Vassel wrote in a note thanking the Y staff.
And have they ever jumped on the opportunity. Vassel keeps track of the time he spends exercising, calories he’s burned, and miles he’s walked. In just one month he worked out for 1,829 minutes, burned 17,673 calories, and walked just short of 100 miles. That’s in addition to water and land Zumba classes and weight training. And it’s paid off; Vassel has lost 45 pounds since joining and Judy has lost 17.
Their connection to the Y goes far beyond simple exercise, however. They know they are part of a community where people care about them and want them to thrive despite their challenges. “The consideration given by the front desk staff and the constant friendliness my wife and I both experience each and every time we visit the center truly a especial moment that make us feel like the Y is for our life,” Vassel says.