I Can Care for Him, Myself
Nancy and Jerry had been married for over 47 years and she had graciously taken care of him throughout the 10 years of his advancing dementia. She felt it was her duty and honor to take care of this generous and loving man, who now did not remember their life together or even her name. Their son and his family moved in to help yet Nancy was resistant as she thought it was her duty to care for her husband. Eventually, her role as sole caregiver began to wear on her. The family saw that she was not taking her own medications and began neglecting herself. They convinced her to visit with a Care Manager. To her surprise, Nancy and Jerry both found themselves in love with the Care Manager and the Caregivers who came to help with daily activities. Nancy was able to rest assured that Jerry was cared for and she could take time to care for herself. During an unexpected illness and hospitalization, their Care Manager was able to advocate for their needs and orchestrate a smooth transition to the rehabilitation facility and then eventually back home. With the ongoing support of their Sound Options’ Care Manager and Caregivers, Jerry was able to spend the rest of his days in his own home surrounded by the people who loved him the most.
Mom: Home Alone
Mom had always been independent and proud that at her age she remained fit with good mental capacity. As the only daughter and living hundreds of miles away from Seattle, I had to trust that she was okay. My brother, who lives in town, had hired a Care Manager to assist with the coordination of her multiple medical appointments and medications. I totally disagreed with the plan until I went home for a visit. When I walked in the door, Mom was so happy to see me but I immediately knew something was wrong. My mother was a tidy housekeeper and yet the place was a mess. Looking closer, I realized what she was reporting to me was not reality. Mom’s memory and ability to function was deteriorating. Over the next several days, I met with the Care Manager who was an expert in taking care of older adults. She gently told me the long list of medications and medical concerns. The Care Manager went to all the medical appointments and advocated for my mother. She even organized the medications into a nice, easy-to-use box. My mom trusted this professional and I could see how valuable the Care Manager was, not only for my mother’s care but my own sanity! Towards the end of my visit, we all came up with a plan that worked best for mom. The next day, as I began my trip back to my own home, I had a better idea of how to support my mother and a peace-of-mind that the Care Manager was helping us move forward.
Getting Back on Track
Glen and Laverne had been married for 55 years with 3 children, successful careers and no serious health conditions. Now retired and living in Tacoma, they were ready for travel and enjoy time with their grandchildren. It was a cool, fall morning when Glen woke up with crushing pain in his chest. The hospital ER admitted him with a heart attack and possible stroke. Laverne called the adult children and the whole family rushed to see their dad. After open-heart surgery and a confirmed stroke, Glen was paralyzed in his right arm and his speech was difficult to understand. Laverne was at his side, but she too had her own health issues and with the added stress, her blood sugar and diabetes were unstable.
Their daughter Sarah heard about Geriatric Care Managers at Sound Options, who could assist families with the coordination of care. The family agreed to bring in Janet to guide them. She was a Care Manager with a Master’s in Social Work (MSW). Glen needed rehabilitation and multiple therapies in addition to a healthier diet. Laverne needed reassurance and help with getting her stress under control. Janet was able to assess the couple’s situation and come up with a plan to put in place. Janet worked with the doctors and occupational therapists and even organized homecare 4 days a week. Six months later, Glen was able to speak better with the help of a speech therapist, he had a returned use of his right arm and he made a commitment to exercise and eating healthier foods. Laverne also joined Glen in his nutrition and exercise program! Glen said, “We could not have had a better outcome. Both Laverne and I had a ‘wakeup call’ and we have changed our lives for the better. All thanks to our Care Manager, Janet.” Now they were ready to take that trip they have waited so long for.