A Share the Spirit Story - Steady on Their Feet

Connie and Martin are first generation Chinese immigrants. For 16 years they ran a popular Chinese restaurant in Antioch where they worked hard and saw the restaurant prosper. Then their lives changed drastically when Martin was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Both are proud people and determined to live independently in their home while facing Martin’s illness, but it hasn’t always been an easy choice. Parkinson’s makes Martin very unsteady and he has fallen twice – once suffering a large gash on his forehead when he hit his head on the refrigerator. Connie recalls the frightening incident. “I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t lift him! He kept telling me not to bother anyone, but after a half hour I had to call the neighbors.”
Connie who loves to tend to the garden in her backyard has also suffered a couple of bad falls. In an incident last year, she fell as she stepped out of her living room onto the patio, and it resulted in a sprained knee and chronic back pain that lasted for months.
Connie and Martin recently had safety bars installed in their home thanks to funding from Share the Spirit East Bay, a program of the Bay Area News Group – East Bay Times, administered by the Contra Costa Crisis Center. Donations from the annual holiday campaign have helped support 49 nonprofit agencies in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties including MOW Diablo Region. The funds received by MOW Diablo Region go toward home modifications to help seniors like Connie and Martin stay safe in their homes through a comprehensive safety assessment and installation of safety equipment including grab bars, a hand-held shower head, a shower seat, or bed rails.
During a recent visit, Connie proudly showed off the safety bars installed in the hallway, the bathroom and the door leading out to the backyard. “These are so great! Martin and I feel so much safer because we are able to steady ourselves with the bars. I’m not hesitant to go out to my patio and I worry less about Martin falling when I’m away from home.”