Davenports define impact of caregivers

Published 4:36 pm Tuesday, September 4, 2018

By DAISY WASHINGTON / Community Columnist

Visitation and caregiving to individuals that are homebound is a special calling.

According to the 2015 National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP report, Caregiving in the U.S., approximately 43.5 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months.

Nearly one in four caregivers spends 41 hours or more per week providing care. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that more than 50 percent of nursing home residents have no close relatives, and 46 percent have no living children. An estimated 60 percent of nursing home residents never have visitors.

The term “caregiver” is most fitting for Alabaster couple Anita and Lloyd Davenport.

“Volunteering was my calling from God. There is nothing I enjoyed more than visiting people in their homes and nursing homes. I knew I touched their lives, most importantly, they touched mine,” 84-year-old Lloyd said. His spouse of 66 years, Anita, had overseen the care of her aging Aunt Hazel long-distance. A breast cancer survivor, her aunt resided with the Davenports for 12 years before she passed in 2012 at the age of 92.

“Aunt Hazel was like a mother to me and taking care of her was the most important thing. She had no one else. God enabled me to be there,” 83-year-old Anita said.

The couple attended to Hazel until the end of her 18-month hospice term with love and dedication.  Despite the development of pulmonary fibrosis and the constant need for the use of oxygen, Lloyd still manages to get around enough to do a couple of home visits during the month; these days, however, most of his communication with the homebound is by telephone.

“It hurts me now because I can’t do it as much anymore,” he said.

Both ordained deacons, Anita and Lloyd have helped the community through the First Presbyterian Church of Alabaster’s JOY Club. They have been members of the church for the past 53 years.

Their devotion to showing compassion and care to those homebound and in nursing homes has spanned the past two decades.

Whether in person or by telephone, Lloyd reached out to anyone he knew was in need. Whether it was building a wheelchair ramp or transportation to an appointment or for a community field trip, his passion and commitment to touching lives was tireless.