Dementia Laments: When Life Gives You Lemons…
“I miss the flowers…”
Joe was living alone in an empty house. The family grew concerned when they visited him and saw dust along the handrail going upstairs. When they went upstairs and saw that the floors had been freshly vacuumed, they asked Joe when the last time he’d gone upstairs was. Joe said, “Just this morning,” but the truth was obvious, he didn’t remember.
The maid had been coming every other week to Joe’s house for the last 15 years – hence why the floor was freshly vacuumed. However, when the family contacted her, she said she hadn’t been to the house in several months! She tried to get payment, but the check bounced. She claimed that Joe kept repeating that he’d mail the payment, but he never did.
It didn’t take long for the family to investigate their elder’s (Joe’s) mail. The number of notices and overdue payments was appalling. Joe had dementia and the family didn’t know it.
Laments of Dementia
“I miss the flowers…”
Joe’s dementia had progressed to a point where he was no longer capable of communicating coherently. At his best, he could carry on a conversation for five minutes, but even then, he had difficulty recognizing family members.
It wasn’t long before Joe’s adult children moved in with him. There were offhand suggestions to move Joe to one of their homes, but just being in an unfamiliar park or restaurant would often cause violent outbursts. He was confused and scared.
It took a toll on the family to care for Joe. Caregiving is never easy and when you need to provide constant care for a senior with dementia, it feels relentless. So the family contacted us, the Concierge Care Advisors. They told us the story.
Because Joe was so far gone, it was difficult to assess what he wanted, so we consulted heavily with the family. They mentioned Joe’s aversion to leaving Seattle.
“He’s happier in familiar environments,” said Joe’s daughter.
“—And… we can’t afford some of the higher-end establishments,” added her spouse.
Location and affordability – common requests of adult children and seniors alike – but then Joe chimed in with, “I miss the flowers.”
We asked what Joe was referring to and the daughter showed us the backyard where Joe and his late wife attended the garden. Now the scene resembled a greenhouse dereliction. The two of them were mildly defensive, stating they would’ve maintained the upkeep, but the task of caregiving kept them occupied.
Of course, we didn’t blame them, caregiving is a full-time job and oftentimes, it’s hard to see the rewards. We simply said that if we found a few places within their budget and in Seattle, maybe we could find one with flowers for Joe as well.
They were overjoyed with the mere consideration.
Life’s a Garden, Dig it
We found the perfect assisted living facility in Seattle that had specialists in dementia care. The family was enraptured with the selection and impressed at the background (and affordability) of the residence. They felt confident in their senior’s placement, but best of all, was the rooftop.
Up on the roof was a garden where the seniors could view the flowers, trees, and herbs growing there. Even in his demented state, Joe lit up when he went outside to the rooftop garden.
When you’re caring for a senior with dementia, it can be daunting, taxing, and frustrating. You’re heroes, but you never need to go it alone. We guarantee smooth transitions and have vetted all the residences we affiliate with. Your senior’s safety comes first every time.
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