Mary Wildman was nominated for the 2020 Dr. Donna Wilson Caregiver Award by Linda Saunders. Linda is the president of the Westlock & District Palliative Care Society and has known Mary for decades as Westlock community member.
Mary Wildman lives in Westlock, Alberta. In January 2019, Mary’s mother suffered a severe stroke and was admitted to the Athabasca Hospital. Mary’s parents, both 93 years old and married for 73 years, had lived independently prior to the stroke. When her mother was hospitalized, Mary went to stay with her father in Athabasca so she could care for him and her mother.
In the spring, after an attempt to live with another daughter in Morinville was unsuccessful, Mary’s father went to live in the Pembina Lodge in Westlock. Mary regularly drove her father from the Lodge to the hospital in Athabasca and back again, to enable her parents to see each other.
At the end of May, Mary’s mother was transferred to the Westlock Continuing Care Centre (WCCC) as the stroke rendered her incapable of returning to her house. This made things a bit easier for Mary as both of her parents were now in Mary’s hometown. However, Mary was still responsible for transporting her dad from the Lodge to WCCC to visit her mom and back again.
Mary’s situation was not easy as she was neither the named Agent who could make personal decisions on her parents’ behalf nor did she have Enduring Power of Attorney that would have allowed her to make financial decisions on their behalf. She was unable to be her parents’ primary decision-maker but Mary was the most consistent and frequent visitor. Mary, twice-widowed, understood that this loving couple needed to spend as much time together as possible. Mary facilitated this need up until the day of her mother’s death in August 2019.
In May 2019, Mary’s older brother was admitted to the Athabasca Hospital due to serious health complications. Within a few days, Mary’s brother had granted her Enduring Power of Attorney so she could make financial decisions on his behalf. Immediately, she was tasked with providing suitable housing for him. Although it would have been easier for Mary to have her brother live in Westlock, she understood that it was important for him to remain in Athabasca in familiar territory near friends and other relatives. She got him settled in a Lodge and continues to drive him to appointments.
While caring for her parents and brother, Mary continued to care for her own adult children and their families while also continuing to visit the palliative care client assigned to her when she joined the Westlock & District Palliative Care Society.
AHPCA is honoured to present Mary Wildman with the Dr. Donna Wilson Caregiver Award for 2020.