Most family members who provide at-home care are wives, daughters, or sisters of the ones in need. Elvada Waltower is such a care-giver. In her cramped apartment in northeast Washington, D.C., she has cheerfully dealt since last summer with the challenging physical difficulties of her older sister, Eddye Stokes, who is confined to bed. Mrs. Waltower has the daily assistance of a personal-care aide, and frequent help from Tali Stopak, a registered nurse from the Visiting Nurse Association of Washington.
Despite her considerable physical and emotional effort, Elvada Waltower refuses to consider the ostensibly easier road of putting her sister into a nursing home. ``When you have done so much for me,'' she says with a smile to her sister, ``then it's my turn to do for you with these hands. ... I'm doing the best I can, with the help of the Lord and others. ... I know that she's getting the help she wouldn't be getting in a hospital.''