Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia can tear holes in the fabric of a family. One person, a spouse, daughter, or a son, usually takes the lead in caring for the affected family member. For my family, my sister, Kathryn, has taken that role. Our Mom moved to Minneapolis when Kathryn was just starting her family. Mom was delighted to be close to her grandson. She lived too far away from me and my brothers to develop that close grandmother/grandchild relationships with our children. Mom loved being an active part of Kathryn’s family and Nana to Kathryn’s son.
When Mom began experiencing moments of memory loss, Kathryn kept me and our brothers up to date on her status. We were always a phone call away, but Kathryn and her family bore the brunt of the day-to-day wear and tear that dementia rents on family members. We would call often and visit occasionally, but Kathryn did all the heavy lifting. Kathryn provided care herself on evenings and weekends, and she managed private caregivers and home care agencies who came in and out during the day. Kathryn did all this while holding down a job and helping to raise her teenage son. Things would become particularly stressful when Kathryn’s family needed to take a short vacation out of town.
Recently, while Kathryn was away for a brief visit with her in-laws after Christmas, an incident sent Mom to the hospital and then a transitional care facility. Kathryn clearly needed help. Things had reached the point where it didn’t make sense for anyone, Mom included, to go back to living at home. My brother, Dave, and I dropped everything last week and flew to Minnesota to do whatever we could to support Kathryn and plot out a new plan of care for Mom. Our other brother, Dan, could not come due to his own health issues, but he sent us his love and support.
This week has been incredibly hard but very productive. We visited Mom and then met with social workers, nurses, care mangers, and “facility navigation” professionals. We toured the four most highly recommended memory care facilities in Minneapolis and picked one that seems incredibly innovative and caring. We made some tough financial decisions. Most of all, we spent time with Mom and one another, living into our new family situation.
Mom always expressed adamantly her desire to stay in her home. It was heart-wrenching to make the decision to remove her from her familiar surroundings and place her in a memory care facility. We did not make that decision lightly, and we did not make it alone. We worked together as a family, loving the mother who raised us and taught us the values that we have passed on to our children.
Here are pictures of us with Mom this week, and another one of us walking the dog. Mom wasn’t with us for the walk because the wind chill temperature was well below zero–note the frozen water falls in the background. If you are wondering which one is me, I’m the man who is bundled up the most–my blood definitely has thinned from living in Florida for the past 35 years!
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care Services in Orlando FL, please contact the caring staff at Flourish in Place Home Care Solutions today. Proudly serving Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Brevard Counties.