Maxine Inspires Positivity and Dignity
February 29, 2024Jim Oswald

In 2019 when I first met Maxine, her positive outlook on the difficulties many older adults face as they age inspired me.

“Aging, to me, is really a state of mind,” she told me back then. “As we age, we start to have issues with our bodies, but everything is about how we deal with it.”

I recently caught up with her at her home and after our conversation, I am still amazed by her positive outlook on life, her resilience, and her continued desire to help others.

I asked her how her holidays were and she beamed about the special Thanksgiving meal she received from us which included a handcrafted card made by a volunteer.

Over the hour, I learned that she’s just as busy today as she was in 2019, running the Hickman Homes for Children which helps families prepare to become foster parents for youth in need.

And, when she’s not managing the finances for the business, she continues to participate with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (where she was formerly the president) helping to plan its 19th-anniversary fundraising event which takes place in March.

Health Setback

One constant in her life that hasn’t changed is Meals on Wheels which she says she truly appreciates.

In December, Maxine turned 80 and learned from her doctor some hard news.

”I was diagnosed with stage 4 chronic kidney disease. That kind of got me going,” she said. 

Her birthday ended up being a bittersweet celebration as she proceeded with her planned trip to visit family back in Michigan for the Christmas holiday. 

Maxine says doctors have put her on a special diet to slow the progress of the kidney disease. Her nutrition needs are even more important now, which is why she says she’s grateful for Meals on Wheels as the two meals a day, along with the nutrition counseling, help her meet the stricter nutrition requirements she needs to stay healthy.

“It [kidney disease] is not a death sentence, “she tells me. “It’s a “lifestyle change.” She and her doctor’s focus right now is preventing the disease from advancing to stage 5 which she’s told would require dialysis.

Maxine says she’s just been trying to adjust to this news while continuing to take care of herself and do her day-to-day activities. She remains very independent despite not driving anymore. She tells me she doesn’t care for taking public transit, so she takes an Uber or Lyft wherever possible to her appointments despite the costs which she says run her about $700 a month.

Appreciating Meals on Wheels

Maxine shared with me a particular problem she had recently while attempting to cook a meal for herself – something that many older adults with similar health conditions can relate to.

“I wanted to fry up some fish but it took me all day to do it and I’m not exaggerating,” she explained.  “It took me five or six hours because I had to stand up and then I had to sit down — just back and forth. And, I had never experienced that before. So [when that happened] it made me appreciate Meals on Wheels even more.”

She says she feels good and has energy for most of the day.

 “Things are working for me – I got Meals on Wheels checking on me periodically – always remembering the holidays,” she says with a smile.

Did You Know?

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