Published on April 06, 2015

A place to belong

Richard MyrickWhat Richard Myrick wanted most was a place to call home. For much of his life, the 70-year-old lived independently. He was proud of that fact. I was the first young man in my family to buy his own home.

But in recent years, his declining health has made it difficult for him to live alone. Just last fall, he was staying with a family member. But it was a tense relationship that couldn’t last long. One day in November it became clear he needed to move out. He realized, though, that he had nowhere to go.

That’s when someone he trusted stepped in to help: Meagan Moody, a social worker at Mercy LIFE.

An urgent need for help

Mercy LIFE is a nationally recognized program for adults 55 and older who have chronic illnesses but are able to live independently in their own home or with family. And according to Meagan, one of its primary goals is to help seniors maintain their independence; something that meant a lot to Richard.

Last fall, Meagan noticed that Richard seemed depressed when he visited the center. She knew his living situation was difficult. She hoped things would improve. But when they fell apart instead, she immediately got on the phone.

I just started calling around to apartment complexes, she says. And she found one that had an opening right away. She met with the landlord and took pictures to share with Richard. I wanted him to be involved every step of the way because this is his life and his apartment.

Richard was grateful for Meagan's help. I couldn’t have done it without her, he says.

Of course, an empty apartment would need furnishings;and soon. But Richard couldn’t drive or walk well. So Meagan set out on her own to search thrift stores for a sofa, chairs and a bed;and she arranged to have them delivered too.

A new home, a new outlook

Now that he’s in a place of his own, Richard says 2015 is going to be his year. And when he connects with his second family at the Mercy LIFE center in Delaware County, it’s with a smile on his face. I do all the activities, he says. We have prayer services. We have arts and crafts. I am very creative.

Meagan has certainly noticed the new Richard. He feels so inspired to take care of his own health, and he's walking well now, she says. The change is just awesome.

And Richard knows he has Mercy LIFE to thank for his happier situation. Mercy LIFE is a blessed place, Richard says. Their work is divine.