Posted on: September 23, 2014 | 0 Comments |
Note: In 2007, Jamie Wilson Headley (founder and CEO of Dementia Services Group) began the complicated process of helping her once-independent mother adjust to life with dementia.
These are the challenges that one woman faced, but although Jamie’s Journey is deeply personal, it is also universal. We hope that her trials and triumphs will shed light on the emotional and logistical issues that come with caring someone with dementia.
So, how does one go about finding an assisted living facility? (check out my post on how to find an ALF or memory care for more information). I really didn’t know – so I did the most obvious thing and got on the internet (which is not a good way to choose something this important!). I put in search criteria (very limited) and then got a list of facilities that met those criteria. Great. So I set up some appointments to tour. Honestly, I didn’t really know what I was looking for or what was important. I knew Mom would enjoy having some space and a balcony to sit on. And of course it couldn’t look institutional or smell bad. Mom would have preferred if I could have found one with “no old people”. That was a bit tougher. So I found her a beautiful 2-bedroom apartment with a balcony that overlooked a little lake. I called Mom and told her we would be moving her to Indy in a couple of weeks. She was delighted. My brother booked a flight and said he would drive Mom from Chicago to Indy and then stay to help with the move.
The next couple of weeks were stressful. Mom called multiple times a day telling me how unhappy she was and asking when we were going to get her moved. I would explain the same thing over and over again. It was getting harder and harder to ignore her memory deficits. Her depression continued to be an issue and the crying and meltdowns continued as well.
By this time I had gotten a job and we had decided to build a house. We were starting to settle in a bit and we were all hopeful that things would be much better once Mom was in Indy with me.
On some level things were better. But I guess what I really hoped is that her condition would miraculously improve. I hoped that the memory deficits would go away, the meltdowns and depression would stop and we would go back to life before “dementia”. That didn’t happen.