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Family Matters

In last issue’s Caregiver Profi le, we told you about Carla Wilson and her family. Carla, who has dementia, was living by herself in her Manhattan apartment. Her fi ve children — three in New York City, one in Virginia, and one in Puerto Rico — were all juggling their schedules and using their vacation time to provide around-the-clock care for Carla. When we left them, Carla’s children were working hard to introduce home care in a way that enabled Carla to remain comfortably at home.

Last week I received an e-mail from Elisa, Carla’s daughter in Virginia, who provided me with an update. What follows are excerpts from that e-mail.

Hi Matt,

Just wanted to give you an update about my Mom. Don’t know where we last left off, but Mom is now in a nursing home AND DOING WELL! You remember she didn’t make the adjustment too well with the home attendants. then we were trying to hire a friend of a friend and that didn’t go over well either. So we were back to juggling our schedules with putting her on the bus to day care and meeting the bus at the end of the day when it arrived (at home). and then we were back to who would take her for the weekend. My older sister had been visiting some nursing homes, checking to see which ones we would wait-list Mom for.

as you also know, Mom has a circulatory condition with her legs. Well, her legs were getting bad again because no one had the time to take her to the doctor every week. this actually happened to be a blessing in disguise. My youngest sister, the one who does most of the caregiving, took Mom to the emergency room and Mom was admitted. My sister spoke to the doctor and mentioned that we have been considering placing Mom in a nursing home.

the doctor said he could speed up the process by having mom go straight from the hospital into the nursing home. WELL, THAT WAS ALL WE NEEDED TO HEAR. Mom went into the nursing home that my sister had liked best two days after she was admitted into the hospital. She went in about two days before Mother’s Day. that was a little hard for all of us. and the fact that it happened so fast was a bit stressful. Mom was frightened at fi rst, confused, and wanting to know when she would go home.

But a few concerts in the gardens, a couple of “make-overs” (hair and makeup), dinner at the same time each day, new friends, and Mom is adjusting very well! We took her out for the fi rst time last week to attend a graduation dinner and she was worried about getting back to the nursing home in time — she was afraid if she got back too late, they wouldn’t let her back in.

WOW, THANK GOD!! She did mention just yesterday that she misses her home and asked if she could visit for just a little bit, but we are dealing with that as best we can. We are giving up her apartment next month and moving on.

i just wanted you to know that i was thinking about you and wanted to share the great news. the help your agency provided gave us the guidance and assurance we needed to help us get through the hardest of times.

I asked Elisa if I could share the above with our readers because her family’s story is one that I am sure will resonate with many caregivers of people with dementia. It is important to remember that this resolution happened to work for this family, but that nursing home placement may not be the most appropriate solution to your individual situation.

If you would like to meet with a care consultant, please call the Chapter at 646-744-2900 or our 24-hour Helpline at
800-272-3900. Caregivers featured in this series have agreed to share their stories. Names have been changed
to protect their anonymity.

— Matt Kudish, MSW
Director, Helpline & Care Consultation

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