An Unexpected Injury: When Early Onset Dementia Strikes

Posted on: September 22, 2014 | 0 Comments |

For years, it was Scott and Linda, just the way it had always been. They were high-school sweethearts, together for 30 years and counting.

Neither of them expected dementia to burst into their lives and deal them both a terrible blow.

Note: Dementia Services Group worked with Scott Rodgers and his wife, Linda, during the most difficult period in their life together. Today, we’re privileged to share Scott’s story with you. In learning about his challenges, we hope that readers who are on their own difficult journeys will find hope.

Scott’s Story
Linda’s clinical diagnosis was Early Onset Alzheimer’s with Frontal Temporal Dementia. A particularly tough combination, according to the doctors.

And a particularly unexpected one — Scott and Linda were only in their fifties.

Scott was determined to do whatever it took to get Linda the care she needed, but it was difficult. There were so many new decisions to consider and all of them were clamoring for Scott’s attention. What kind of treatment plan did Linda need? Which doctor was best for her? Would she be better off in a special facility and, if so, could Scott even find one that could handle her unique situation?

The last question was especially difficult to answer.

It wasn’t just the emotional toll that Scott had to consider. There were practical concerns, too. Linda’s mind may have been wounded, but physically, she was as able-bodied as ever. It was a challenge for any facility to care for her.

She was very aggressive, very strong. There really was no facility that could keep her.Scott Rodgers

Dementia Services Group came into Scott’s and Linda’s lives during a particularly dark period. Linda’s psychoses had intensified. She suffered through extreme hallucinations while unreal voices plagued her days and nights. She seemed to have a split personality, and exhibited psychotic behavior.

And now Scott and Linda were caught in a seemingly impossible situation. Scott couldn’t shuffle Linda from facility to facility, uprooting her when the clinical staff were inevitably unable to handle Linda’s strength and aggression. Likewise, it was hard to imagine finding adequate care for Linda within their home.

DSG and Scott embarked on something that had seemed impossible before: a healthy, home-based strategy for Linda.

It wasn’t easy. None of us expected it to be. But now Scott had support and guidance. He didn’t have to do things alone, and that made all the difference. DSG worked closely with Scott and Linda for several months. During this time, Linda’s psychoses became more extreme, while the maze of doctors and insurance and care-plans had gotten no simpler.

There’s no one I’ve come across that has the depth of understanding… the compassion, knowledge, and common sense… I can’t say enough good things.Scott Rodgers

Through a combination of advocacy, education, support, and advice, we were able to help Linda remain at home in a healthy, beneficial environment.

Mrs. Rodgers passed away in December 2013. She and Scott spent 45 years together, and although the last decade was fraught with unimaginable challenges, her beauty and indomitable spirit will never be forgotten.

We feel privileged to have been there for Scott and Linda during such a difficult time in their lives. Thank you, Scott, letting us share your story.

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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