Pinkelman honored for dedication to motherWritten by Danielle Portteus | | email@example.com
Sharon Pinkelman understands the importance and accepts the responsibility of taking care of the elderly.
For 10 years, Pinkelman, 60, has cared for her mother, Marie Dominique, 80, who suffers from dementia caused by a brain aneurism.
On May 17, Pinkelman was honored as one of nine 2006 Elder Caregivers of the Year.
Pinkelman said she brought her mother into her home because she is not able to live alone.
“I do everything for her, but she can dress herself,” Pinkelman said. “The older she gets the worse she’s getting; we just found out she’s diabetic.”
Pinkelman said her mother would wear the same clothes every day if she did not assist her.
“I do it for her every day because I love my mother,” she said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Pinkelman said she also cares for her 29-year-old daughter Farah, who uses a wheelchair.
According to the Ohio Department of Aging Web site, each year ODA, the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging and the pharmaceutical company Norvartis select caregivers to honor for “the work they do to make Ohio a better place, while symbolically recognizing the combined value of all informal caregivers throughout the state.”
Kathy Ehlers, adult day services coordinator at the Alzheimer’s Association, 2500 N. Reynolds Road, nominated Pinkelman for the award.
“She’s an outstanding caregiver because she effectively manages caregiving by using our services and others to help her care for her mother,” she said. “She is compassionate and effectively juggles between her daughter and her mother.”
Ehlers said Pinkelman has a positive attitude about caregiving.
“She sees caregiving as a gift,” she said. Ehlers said she received a packet in the mail regarding the award and knew right away she wanted to nominate Pinkelman.
“I didn’t hesitate and thought of her immediately,” she said. “I had a very good feeling [she would win] because she has an excellent story to tell.”
Ehlers said she was proud and excited Pinkelman won the award.
Pinkelman, the oldest of 13 children, said her sisters who live in the area offer to care for their mother so Pinkelman can have some free time.
Pinkelman said she loves to garden in the summer and read books in the winter. She said she also likes to travel.
Pinkelman’s sister Judy Zavac, 47, said Pinkelman has always taken on the responsibility of caregiver.
“She’s taken on the full responsibilities of my mother with all the doctor visits and medicines,” she said. “She’s just all together with it, being the oldest — she has done it all herself and it’s a big responsibility.”
Zavac said the award was the highest honor her sister could receive for the work she does.
“She knows exactly when there is something wrong with mom and whatever it takes, she puts 100 percent into our mom,” she said. “She just loves family and our mother, and she is so caring and compassionate that you can talk to her about anything.”
Pinkelman said during the day, her mother attends the adult day services program at the Alzheimer’s Association and her daughter goes to a Lucas County workshop for the disabled so she can work outside her home.
“I don’t know if I could do it without the extra places for them to go,” she said. “It’s allowed me to have some free time and to work as well.”
Pinkelman said she is an auxiliary service personnel clerk for the Lucas County Board of Clerks and is responsible for overseeing the purchasing of textbooks and managing state money for St. Rose in Perrysburg, St. Joseph in Maumee and St. Patrick of Heatherdowns elementary schools.
She said she has worked there for almost 20 years and will retire soon.
Pinkelman has six children: Colleen, 41; Scott, 39; Kelly, 38; Shannon, 36; Ryan 34; and Farah, 29. She also has 10 grandchildren between the ages of three and 15.
Pinkelman said she has found strength in her faith in God despite her losses over the years.
Her husband, Dale, was murdered in 1992 in his store Pinky’s Collectibles, 216 North Town Square. Her father died at the age of 43.
“My mother has been the best teacher of faith to me,” she said. “She always said, ‘if you put your problems in the good Lord’s hands, he’ll take care of you’ — and he sure has.”