The bond between sisters Rachel and Carrie is special. It has weathered many storms, moved many mountains, and grown stronger each year. That bond has since blossomed into a whole family wrapping around Rachel and making sure she lives the life she deserves.
Rachel has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability and cannot live on her own. For many years, she was cared for by her aunt and uncle. After they passed away and after trying other living situations, Rachel wanted to try living in a group home.
“She liked the idea of being an adult and doing something by herself,” said Carrie.
After living in two group homes, Rachel began showing signs that she was not happy.
“She didn’t want conversation, she cried a lot, she seemed depressed, she slept a lot,” said Carrie.
In this moment, Carrie and her husband Jeremy had some hard, but important, conversations. Should they step in and welcome Rachel into their home? Could they care for someone with special needs, especially since they were already caring for their children? Could they balance careers, children, and compassionate care? Would Rachel find peace in their home?
There were plenty of questions, but the answer always remained the same. Rachel needed them, and they needed to be there for her. In March, Carrie and Jeremy officially became Rachel’s sponsored residential providers through DePaul and Jeremy quit his job to make sure he would be there for Rachel whenever she needed him.
“Having his constant support and someone who is dedicated to her during the day has made a huge difference,” said Carrie.
Since moving in, Rachel is becoming her old self again. She is sweet and cheerful, motivated to be more independent and vocal—an advocate for herself. A doctor even recently put “happiness” in her medical notes. And DePaul is there for the family when they need it, offering resources, support, and someone to listen.
“It gives you joy and purpose and it’s important … you’re making all the difference in the world to them,” said Jeremy.
“She brightens our days,” said Carrie. “It really is life-changing to be helping my sister have a better life.”
Rachel’s world has changed, and so have the worlds of those around her. That is the beauty and power of compassionate care. Much like the bond between sisters, it can weather storms, move mountains, and grow stronger through time.