Season for Caring
AGE of Central Texas is participating in this year's Austin American-Statesman "Season for Caring" campaign. You can help our featured family -- June and Kenneth Bonewitz, and June's mom Margie -- by clicking here or calling our Season for Caring Hotline: 512-992-3440
Meet the Bonewitz Family:
June and her husband Kenneth have overcome great odds to be where they are today. June has had cerebral palsy since childhood, and -- as an adolescent, following the suicide of her father -- she developed bipolar disorder. During his senior year of high school, Kenneth was injured in an automobile crash, which left him in the hospital for 5+ months; the right side of his brain is gone, affecting his short-term memory and motor skills. June is also the primary caregiver for her mother, Margie, who has Alzheimer’s disease and has been living with the couple since 2007.
Physical and financial challenges prevent the family from being the fully contributing members of society they long to be. June’s and Kenneth's disabilities make it difficult for them to retain higher paying jobs, which require efficiency/output quotas. While intelligent and hard-working, neither of them are able to move at the speed of workers who do not have disabilities.
Due to their challenges and the expense of caring for themselves and Margie, they are not able to get ahead financially. Cooking is a challenge, due to the couple's disabilities and Margie's Alzheimer's disease, and their lack of income. The couple does not qualify for SNAP benefits, and relies on low-cost microwave meals.
Margie has advanced dementia due to Alzheimer's disease and must be in a supervised, secure environment at all times. June takes Margie to and from AGE’s Adult Day Health Center in Round Rock during the work week. Caregiving for an elderly family member with dementia is highly stressful, and caregivers often experience loneliness and depression as a symptom of the effects of caregiving. June and her husband have not been able to receive a solid 24-hours of respite for 12 years due to Margie’s memory loss.
Fulfilling June's and Kenneth's needs and wishes will allow them to be more independent and self-reliant. Through training for themselves, and their dogs, they want to find more fulfilling and productive employment. It would also allow them to give back to the community as volunteers -- an important goal for both.
Bonewitz Family’s Wish List:
June and her family need career coaching and help from a handyman to enable them to achieve more, despite their disabilities. They also would like the opportunity to take a vacation; June and Kenneth have not been able to receive a solid 24-hours of respite for more than 12 years due to Margie’s care requirements.
- A new or gently used car
- Fence repair and gate repair to prevent Margie from wandering
- Bathtub grab rail out of the bathtub
- A handyman to teach Kenneth how to make household repairs including weatherstripping
- Dental work for June and Margie, who have not had a check-up in years, and Kenneth, whose faulty bridge work grinds on his lower teeth
- Training/coaching for June to become a Peer Support Specialist, and for Kenneth to help other people like himself who are “handicapeable” and/or mentally challenged
- Voice-to-text or other adaptive software for the computer
- Training for their two Australian Shepherds to become therapy dogs
- Food for their dogs, one of which must eat a low-protein diet due to a missing kidney
- A vacation, and a caregiver to watch Margie while the couple is away
- Gift cards for H-E-B, WalMart, Sears, Home Depot/Lowe’s, Karavel Shoes
- Refrigerator/freezer, or repair to the current appliance’s freezer and ice-maker
- Repair or replacement of range-hood microwave oven
- Garage door opener
- Small appliances, including a crock pot and hair dryer
- Oven temperature calibration
- Financial and legal advice for Power of Attorney and other issues
- Advance funeral planning for Margie and a suit for Kenneth to wear to the eventual service
- Assistance from a professional organizer to help them sort out their home office and provide decorative advice
- Repair or replacement of dining room table
- Help from a consignment store to sell Margie’s stored belongings
- French horn for June, who played in college and would love to join the community orchestra
Clothing for Kenneth:
- XL shirts, especially golf shirts
- Size 33 or 34 pants
- Size 9½ wide shoes
Clothing for June:
- Size 12-14 clothing
- XL blouses
- Front-closing bras
- Orthopedic shoes
Clothing for Margie:
- Size 14 petite pants
- Large shirts
- Size 6 tennis shoes