Working with Alzheimer’s and dementia residents, we see challenges of the disease that are often perceived as “behaviors” of the resident. Memory disease can make people act in ways that are completely foreign to how they behaved most of their lives, making it extremely important to find the right care option for your loved one.
Unfortunately, we encounter far too many cases where residents have been moved to multiple facilities or over-medicated because of their “behavior.” Yet, we’ve been fortunate to find that these individuals are frequently our most inspiring turnaround stories. People like Anthony.
In 2018, we welcomed Anthony to Our Family Home after being discharged from another memory care facility for his “behaviors.” During our assessment, we learned he had been in three memory care facilities prior to us and was heavily medicated. He was bed-ridden, and his fists were clenched tightly, making him unable to use his hands.
After moving into Our Family Home, our team of nurses began working with a new hospice group to reduce his medication, slowly weaning him down from what were nearly toxic levels. Over time, they significantly reduced the medicine and added a small pain medication for severe arthritis. Working together through daily interaction and simple exercises, Our Family Home caregivers noticed not just that Anthony’s hands were opening, but that he could now feed himself and hold a glass.
Once bed-ridden and unable to use his hands, Anthony now participates in multiple, group activities – like passing around a pool noodle, throwing beach balls, and erasing the chalk board and folding napkins. We’ve also been able to work with hospice and his family to equip Anthony with a high back wheelchair to move around the house independently.
Just retelling this story can almost bring tears. We’re still seeing weekly improvements and getting to know Anthony even more, which separates Our Family Home from other facilities.
We realize that not every story and not every resident will have such a transformative experience with us. But, we do know that Our Family Home’s level of care and the real connection we have with our residents preserves their health, their dignity and their livelihood.