When aging parent needs care, it is often one child out of several siblings
Who stands and says, “I Will”
Mark Laganelli has been a Caregiver to his mother and father for 20 years, now both 90 years old, partially blind, father with Alzheimer’s and his wheel chaired bound mother with movement that goes from her feet to her mouth from Restless Leg Syndrome.
A 24/7 Self-sacrificing labor of love, each day spent getting them up, fed, washed, dressed, and out the door for coffee or breakfast. Twice a week he takes them to Summit Elder Care, for socialization with others. Mark accompanies them three times a week to a gym where they ride a stationary bike 8 miles to maintain their health. Trusting in God and running 30 to 50 miles a month has given him the strength to take care of our mom & dad.
Mark knows all too well, the consequence of self-sacrifice as forfeiting his present comfort for the sake of his parents. Self Sacrifice reveals the very essence of love! Love bears all things, endures all things.
During the past 20 years, he has help support his elderly parents by entertaining nursing home residents, as an Elvis impersonator. Each time he performs, he takes his mother and father along with him to watch over them.
Mark recognizes the importance of bringing love, joy, and entertainment to the disadvantaged, lonely and underserved in nursing homes from his experience of caring for his Mother and Father.
He brightens the residents day by singing songs by Elvis that brings about memories of younger years that are dear to their hearts; memories such as these have a profound effect, as can be seen on their facial expressions.
Compelled by his caring, compassionate heart, he goes one-step beyond by visiting residents after his performances.
On one occasion, Gladys, a resident in her 90’s, in a nursing home he performed frequently, was passing away, she requested to see him in her room and said, “I just want to say bye”! Mark knew she was dying, she told him “to sing as long as he could and don’t give it up” She died, and was buried with the scarves he had given her during his performances.
Because of his sincere devotion to nursing home residents, he received a letter from former Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Augustus Jr.
Dear Mr. Laganelli:
“I am writing to commend you on taking the time to provide entertainment for the residents of Auburn Life Care. I have enclosed photos from the Auburn News, which I thought you might enjoy”.
“I am pleased that you are utilizing your musical talent and hope you continue this enthusiasm and energy to perform and donate your time to others”.
“I wish you the best of luck and, again, I commend you on your performance. Please do not hesitate to contact my office in Boston at 617-722-1485 if I can ever be assistance to you”.
Although many articles has been written about Mark, the most memorable was the very first, December 11, 1998, published by David Bagdon, Publisher of the Community Advocate and fellow high school classmate, inspired during their high school reunion at the Ground Round in Shrewsbury Massachusetts, when Mark performed “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” by Elvis Presley.
“You never stood in that mans shoes , or saw things thru his eyes or stood and watched with helpless hands while the heart inside you dies, So help your brother along the way, No matter where he starts for the same, God that made you, made him too, THESE MEN WITH BROKEN HEARTS “
Ironically, this has become his life song.
You grew up being taken care of by your parents. Now, you are taking care of them. People tend to underestimate how emotional that role reversal can be. Love bears all things, endures all things.