Safe and Sound: Becky’s Story

Posted on: October 6, 2014 | 0 Comments |

You see the red flags — the food gone rotten in Mom’s refrigerator, her disorientation while driving, her mishandled medications — but when it came to moving forward, Becky and her siblings were lost on what to do next.

Note
Dementia Services Group worked with Becky and her siblings when they realized that their once self-sufficient mother was now suffering from dementia. We’re grateful to Becky for sharing her story today.


Becky’s Story
Becky’s Mother had always been an independent woman.  She lived alone and had always been capable of caring for herself. When she started getting lost on the way to familiar destinations the family was very concerned. Even more worrying, Becky’s mother described driving down a road and noticing that her speedometer was “broken” — it said she was driving 55 when she was sure she’d been driving only 30 miles-per-hour.

We were all starting to notice she was having memory lapses… She wasn’t herself.Becky

After several doctors visits Becky’s Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Although her Mom said she understood the diagnosis, she was unwilling to stop driving or accept help.

For Becky and her siblings, the challenge wasn’t just coping emotionally with their mother’s troubling diagnosis. Suddenly, there were so many new worries. And with these worries came a flood of new services to consider and coordinate.

But with nine siblings, it was hard to come to an agreement about what to do next. There were legal, financial, and medical hassles. Complicating things further, their mother was a flight risk, so even a moment alone could result in her wandering out the door. There were safety risks inside the house, too (stairs that posed a new threat, stoves to accidentally leave on, lit cigarettes that could be easily forgotten).

During this time, Becky’s mother wasn’t regularly getting proper nutrition. If left to her own devices, she would have lived on crackers and cookies. At one point dropped to a mere 85 pounds.

Unfortunately, even if Becky and her siblings could find suitable, in-home supervision, their mother would fire the caregivers just as quickly. With all of her children working full-time, it was impossible to find the 24-hour care their mother needed.

It was a messy situation with no easy answers.

When you’re coming from a big family, everyone’s at a different stage of understanding and maybe grieving for the circumstances.Becky

When Dementia Services Group began working with the family, our first step was to get all nine siblings on a conference call to discuss their options. It was important that everyone understand what was happening, and learn about their mother’s new limitations.

We also advised them on what types of doctors to speak with, and what to expect in the meantime.

Since in-home care was no longer a good fit, we helped Becky and her siblings move their mother to a facility where she could receive the proper care in an environment where she is comfortable and safe.

The bottom line is, Jamie helped us.Becky

As with all of our clients, the journey was never easy. When you love someone with dementia, it’s hard to know where to go or what to do.

Although their mother’s condition continues to pose challenges to Becky and her siblings, their mother is living in a facility where she is comfortable, safe, and healthy. DSG is grateful to have had the opportunity to help in any way.

It’s really important to find someone like Jamie [and DSG]. They’re doing it for all the right reasons.Becky

Thank you, Becky, for sharing your story with us!

 

Please Help Us Reach More Families

At DSG, we want to help even more families affected by dementia. We’ve applied for the Mission Main StreetSM Grant, sponsored by Chase and Google, and we need 250 votes by Oct. 16th to move to the next round.

Please help us realize our goal of changing the world of dementia care! This grant would give us the ability to help more families and change the way care is provided to those with dementia.

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Jamie's Journey

In 2007, Jamie Wilson (founder and CEO of Dementia Services Group) began the complicated process of helping her once-independent mother adjust to life with dementia.

Jamie's Journey is deeply personal, but also universal. We hope that her trials and triumphs will shed light on the emotional and logistical issues that come with caring for someone with dementia.

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