Skip to main content

Dolores Franco

The heart of caregiving, a WellMed employee’s commitment to her mother

Picture of Dolores Franco

“My role is more than just caring for her physical needs; I want to be a source of constant support, and her companion.”

When Dolores Franco retired from a 27-year career as a medical biller in California, she wanted to live closer her daughter, Marissa Franco, so she moved from Los Angeles to San Antonio, Texas.

Marissa, who has been with WellMed for 15 years, was overjoyed to have her mom join the family, which includes husband Robert and two sons, Elijah, 26, and Vincent, 16.

The expanded household quickly settled into a new routine, with Marissa becoming her mom’s primary caregiver.

“I knew that if she was going to move here, she would need to be close to me,” Marissa says. “I wanted to be able to provide her with the care she needs.”

Dolores, now 70, is a lively woman who enjoys nurturing her family by cooking and helping around the home, but she is slowing down. Her mobility is limited and she is less independent. Marissa has had to take on more caregiving responsibilities, including assisting her mother with activities that will keep her active, such as daily tasks and activities, taking her to medical appointments and managing her medication. She has quickly learned that it can be challenging to balance her own responsibilities and needs with those of her mother.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s also very rewarding,” Marissa says. “I love being able to care for my mom and make sure she’s comfortable and happy.”

Dolores is grateful for Marissa’s care and support. “She’s always there for me,” Dolores says. “I don’t know what I would do without her.”

Even so, as in any family, Marissa and Dolores have faced a few challenges along the way, but always manage to work through them. They have a strong bond and a deep understanding of one another. Open communication with each other is essential.

“We’re always there for each other,” Marissa says. “We’re a team.”

In addition to having Marissa close, Dolores also appreciates having access to WellMed health care, a bonus of moving to San Antonio. She is especially fond of her primary care physician, Dr. Preeti Malik at WellMed at Embassy Oakes.

“Dr. Malik genuinely cares for me,” Dolores said. “She will sit and talk with me, even when she has other patients waiting, and she doesn’t rush me.”

Dolores is so happy with her doctor that she’s encouraging her California siblings to move to Texas so they, too, can have access to WellMed’s excellent health care.

Marissa has received support from WellMed’s Comfort Care Transportation, a service that provides rides to medical appointments for eligible Medicare Advantage health plan patients, and the WellMed Charitable Foundation podcast Caregiver SOS, which offers support and education for caregivers.

In the meantime, Marissa and her mom are creating special moments with activities such as painting each other’s nails, gardening and vacationing together. It’s Marissa’s way of making sure her mother’s life is special.

“We have grown so close, being my mom’s caregiver makes me cherish every moment that I have left with her,” Marissa said. “My role is more than just caring for her physical needs; I want to be a source of constant support, and her companion.”

She also has a few tips for other family caregivers.

“Patience is the most important thing,” Marissa said. “You have to be patient with your loved one, but also with yourself. It’s important to have people to talk to who understand what you’re going through.”