Houston Seniors Surviving Harvey

senior couple hugging

It was the second time George and Betty had flooded in a year and a half. This time they will not be going back home. At 85 and 83 years old, this couple simply cannot rebuild once more.

“Betty isn’t in the best of health. I just don’t think we can go through it all over again.” George told me.

It took 9 months before they had their home back together after the Tax Day flood of 2016. Now less than a year after getting back into their home Hurricane Harvey comes knocking on their doorstep. And with 30+ inches of rain pounding down the two were lucky to get out when they did.

“We learned our lesson last time,” Betty said. “We left before the flood waters entered the house this time.”

“I am not sure where we will go”, George lamented “Right now we are staying with our daughter. We are grateful to have a place. So many people don’t even have that. Because we left early we were able to take a few more things with us. Not a lot mind you but a few pictures and other items that hold semimetal value. Last time the house was flooded we had about 3 feet inside. As you can see it is much more than that this time”

“Well, Betty laughed “The good news is we don’t have to worry about the kids fighting over our stuff when we are gone”


That is how I would describe this couple. I guess for a lot of people their age, they have been through a lot in their life. At this point, they realize that life will go on. George and Betty are both very independent. They have been living in their home for over 60 years.

“This is where we raised our children. Our memories are in that home. We celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. My oldest daughter even got married here. We welcomed new grandbaby’s, had BBQ’s and family get-togethers. But I suppose I will just have to gather up all of those memories and take them with me.” Betty told me.

Though they are not sure what will happen to them next this couple has a positive and resilient attitude. They have both agreed they would look at some of the Independent Living Apartments in the area.  Their daughter has a lot of land in the country where she lives in Waller. The idea has been tossed around about putting a mobile home on the property for the two to live in.  But they would rather be closer to town.

“Our doctors are in Houston”, George told me,  “and we also have a lot of friends. Besides we don’t want to become a burden on our children.” 

This is a cry I hear often. Furthermore, they do not want to go into an assisted living facility preferring to remain as independent as possible.

When Help Is Needed 

With Betty’s health, they know they may need some help down the road. Like many seniors, they would rather not rely on their children for that kind of help. Last year when Betty came back from the hospital they hired a home care company to come in for a couple of months to help out. In an independent living apartment, they could hire a caregiver to help when they needed.

In fact, companies like SYNERGY HomeCare can offer help for just a few hours or around the clock as needed. And they can deliver that help wherever you live. So, if George and Betty stay with their daughter for a while care can be delivered to her home. Likewise, if they move to an independent living apartment that is where the caregiver will go. Home care means care wherever you call home.

A Different Situation 

Susan’s mom Carla has been living in her own home. Susan lives in Dallas and really worries about Carla. She has tried to get her to move in with her family but Carla refuses to budge. So Susan hired a home care company.

“Thank goodness, I did!” Susan told me. “I was out of the country on business when the storm came in. Knowing that Shonda was with mom gave me peace of mind during a very stressful time.”

Her caregiver Shonda that has been with Carla for over 6 months. Carla has the beginning stages of dementia. As such she sometimes gets paranoid and fearful around someone she doesn’t know. When the caregiver arrived at her home on Sunday water was starting to come into the house. Shonda immediately called for help. The home office quickly began to work on getting a rescue team to the house for the two ladies. This allowed Shonda to focus on keeping Carla calm.

The office called Susan who was headed back to the states that day. She would not, however, be able to go to Houston. There were no planes going into the Houston area. Susan called Shonda. Together they devised a plan. Shonda agreed to accompany Carla to the emergency shelter. She would stay with her at the shelter. Carla trusted Shonda. The two had grown close over the past six months.

Technology to The Rescue

cell phone 

Technology has helped so many seniors during Hurricane Harvey. Shonda was able to Facetime so Carla and Susan could see and talk to each other. This gave them both peace of mind.

“When you can see with your own eyes that someone is okay it can really relieve your mind.” Said Susan.

The Value of Facebook 

Other seniors were able to reach out for the help they needed. Martha woke to discover she had water shin deep and rising fast. She jumped on Facebook and pleaded with her friends, “What do I do!” There was immediate and overwhelming response giving her phone #’s to call for rescue boats. One friend asked for her address and told her help was on the way. Her friend’s brother went out in his boat and rescued Martha and her husband. The water was up to her knees by the time they arrived.

Help Poured In

home flooded up to the roof with American Flag in front yard

And through it all- the help continued to pour in.  A group calling themselves the Cajun Navy came over from Louisiana to help. With heavy duty trucks and boats, they were able to rescue hundreds of people from the rising waters. And they were not the only ones who came. Groups from all over Texas and many other states rushed in to help. Heroic Rescues were all over Facebook.

Social Media proved to be a huge help in coordinating efforts of everyday people who wanted to help. You could simply go online to find opportunities nearby. The NextDoor app was also a big help to keep neighbors connected. Through the app, people were informed by the Constables office about flooded roads in the area to avoid. Local churches that were collecting donations and needed volunteers had a way to reach the masses.

This event will be forever etched in the minds of many. Through it all, Texas, especially the Greater Houston metroplex can be proud. Texans worked together as a team putting aside their differences and beliefs. There is no doubt that Houston will come back stronger than ever before.

Here at SYNERGY HomeCare  Houston, we are proud to be Texans and we are grateful to be able to help so many of our elderly and disabled.

Chad Jolley

As the owner of SYNERGY HomeCare of Houston and as a son trying disparately to find help for his parents, Mr. Jolley has worked within the senior healthcare field for over a decade. Beginning his work overseeing the care of his father who became critically ill following a stroke in 2004, he has continued to develop his expertise by aiding seniors, adult disabled and veterans in their search for truly compassionate and dependable care through SYNERGY HomeCare. Mr. Jolley received his designation as a Certified Senior Adviser in 2007 and continues to use his years of knowledge and experience to help other families find the care and peace of mind they need.

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