Getting Back to What Matters: A Love of Life
Elder Medical Care’s home-based services made all the difference for Philip Easter and his love of life.
Philip Easter has a love of life, an extraordinary memory, with an encyclopedic knowledge of dates and events in history. Name any date and he can tell you a famous person born on that day or its historical significance. His memory has garnered him media attention from newspapers and local TV and radio shows. Philip has even been the subject of a Johns Hopkins research study: Neuropsychological Investigation of “The Amazing Memory Man.”
Until his health declined a little more than a year ago, he led a full life, giving lectures at the library on one of his favorite topics—Olympic history—sharing his knowledge with the community, and publishing a memoir, “Timepoints,” about his life experiences, which are plentiful. He has traveled extensively, attended the Munich and Montreal Olympics in 1972 and 1976, and completed eight marathons.
In December 2019, Philip suffered a stroke and fell in his apartment, fracturing his hip and pelvis. Philip, who lives alone, could not get to his phone. Luckily, an upstairs neighbor heard his cry for help and called 911. Philip fell unconscious and awoke in the hospital.
“I spent New Year’s Eve in the ICU,” he recalls. “I’ve been in the hospital several times, and it’s scary.”
His recovery, first in the hospital and then a nursing facility, was long and difficult. For months, he experienced intense pain and weakness. When he arrived back home, traveling to and from medical appointments was onerous and exhausting, and he had to rely on friends to drive him. At one of these appointments, his doctor recommended Gilchrist’s Elder Medical Care program, which provides homebased medical care and support.
Philip has been in the Elder Medical Care program since last September. Gilchrist geriatrician Dr. Aaron Charles calls Philip regularly to check up on him and manage his medications. Social worker Amy Hewat provides emotional support and helps with things like navigating benefits and accessing community resources.
Amy helped him send an absentee ballot in the November election so his vote would be counted. Voting in 13 presidential elections is a source of pride for Philip, as is his distinction of being the first person to notice that the George Washington Monument in Baltimore was engraved with the incorrect inauguration date of the first president.
Gilchrist’s home-based care and support have helped Philip maintain a high quality of life. He doesn’t have to leave home to receive high-quality medical care, and twice a month, a Gilchrist volunteer delivers food to him as part of the Pantry to Porch program.
“I felt lost before,” said Philip. “It feels good to have this support and to be connected—it makes a difference. I should have had this years ago.”
Philip hopes in the coming year he can restart his lectures at the library. He already has a topic in mind—amazing and touching stories that combine events in his personal life with events in history. In the meantime, he is happily continuing his quest of what he calls a genuine love of life and continuous learning.