It’s all about the TLC: Trinity Living Center transforms life of long-term participant

It’s not a coincidence that the initials for Trinity Living Center are “TLC,” because tender, loving care is what the center is all about. Long-term participant Ruth is a great example of the miraculous things that can be accomplished with TLC — the place and the concept.

“If it hadn’t been for the Lord and TLC, I don’t know where I’d be,” Ruth said. “Because they always come to your rescue no matter what.”

When Ruth came to Trinity Living Center, she was anxious and depressed. She had become increasingly socially isolated, and with her physical health deteriorating, Ruth’s daughters— who also serve as her caregivers— began searching for some support.

They found Trinity Living Center in Salisbury, which offers adult day services for participants. The program includes daily activities and occasional outings along with exercise and engaging projects.

When Ruth began at TLC a decade ago, her mental and physical health were on a downward spiral. Severe depression had made common tasks such as meal preparation, housework, and bathing more than she could handle on her own. One of her daughters had moved in with Ruth to help care for her.

Ruth was also taking insulin shots to help keep her diabetes under control, a daunting task for anyone but especially so when combined with the crippling effects of severe depression.

To say that Ruth underwent a transformation after starting at TLC would be an understatement.

TLC gave Ruth a place to socialize and engage with others. She became happier. The depression lifted.

She has taken back her life and taken over her health, making smart decisions about the food she eats, participating in the daily exercises offered at TLC, and focusing her energy on activities that bring her peace.

Over the past several years, with the support of TLC, Ruth has worked diligently to lose weight, taking her BMI from “Obese Class II” to “Normal.” She no longer needs the insulin shots she used to depend on to keep her diabetes under control.

As Ruth renewed her spirit and well-being at TLC, a hidden talent emerged. It turns out that she is a fabulous artist. She began by painting lighthouses, and all of her pieces ended up in the homes of friends and family.

Art is therapeutic for Ruth, and her creations have been inspiring to others.

“I got encouragement from a lot of the staff about how good I was doing and the more they encouraged me, the more I wanted to do,” Ruth said. “It helps me relax. Sometimes I’ll make cards and send them to people who might need a lift up.”

Now that Ruth’s warm, happy spirit has returned, she is a terrific welcome ambassador to new participants, making them feel at home in the place that’s been so important to her.

“Ruth is definitely one of the people we would look to when a new person is coming in to make them feel welcome, to maybe even give somebody a little more information about what goes on because sometimes it’s easier coming from your peers than it is from somebody that works here,” says TLC Executive Director Christina Joyce. “Not everybody that’s here is able to communicate what goes on here throughout the day and tell the story, so Ruth is wonderful at that.”

When asked about her favorite part of the TLC program, Ruth said she can’t choose just one.

“It’s been a really good program for me, I enjoy all of it. It’s just an atmosphere I didn’t know existed,” she said. “I would recommend it to anybody. The staff is wonderful. The nurses are wonderful. Everybody is wonderful.”

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