It’s two days before Christmas and your Uber pulls up to your mother’s home. You get out expecting to see her heading towards you from the door, arms open, the joy of the holidays showing on her apron, and her laugh filling the space. You stand there for a minute and there is no mom. You look at your husband and he shrugs his shoulders. Guess we should go up to the house. You notice the leaves are not raked, under a light dusting of snow, and weeds are flourishing in the flower beds. The house looks dark. You ring the doorbell. No answer. You knock. Through the window you see your mother walking over. She looks confused and her appearance is disheveled. There is no apron in sight. She opens the door and asks, “Why did you come a day early?” You are confused. You told her you were coming today when you spoke on the phone over the weekend. “Mom, we’re here for the holiday and I told you we were coming.” She replies, “Yes, you told me you were coming tomorrow.” Your concern is increasing.

Family begins to arrive, and they take on tasks and chores to help get the house in order. While talking with your siblings and their spouses, you realize that the group all saw the same issues and concerns. Your sister-in-law mentions that something similar happened with her Grandma a few years prior. Her family hired a geriatric care manager to help them. Curious, and in search of answers to calm your minds, you sit down at the table and she shares her story.

“She met with Grandma and my mom and I were there. She asked her about her life and what things she has been doing herself and also if there was anything she needed help doing. Grandma denied needing help and mom was a bit frustrated. She asked a bit about finances and legal documents and Grandma said that was none of her business. Mom and the care manager talked later, and she was a great help in getting things organized and making sure the right documents were in place. Grandma never knew. Grandma’s main challenge was her memory loss and she would get frightened when she didn’t understand what was happening. The care manager was amazing. She won Grandma over and went to doctor’s appointments with her and kept notes to let us know what happened. She arranged for a caregiving aide to come help Grandma in the home. The care manager would check on the caregiving to make sure that Grandma was well cared for. I really noticed that my mom was worrying less and seemed calmer. When Grandma’s memory became too much for the in-home assistance, we knew that she needed a safe place where her needs would be met. We visited places with the care manager and she knew the good, the bad, and the ugly about every place we visited. Just knowing that she was putting Grandma’s needs first was comforting. We visited quite a few places and she assured us that it was just fine to do so, we needed to find the right place. Finally, we visited the one that we knew would be the place. The staff was warm and welcoming, and the care manager visited several other clients in the building, so she knew that this was truly how they operated. The care manager helped with the transition and the moving and still stops to see Grandma once a week and she also still goes to doctor’s appointments to keep us informed. If you want, I can ask her if she knows anyone in this area that you could talk to about getting the same type of help.”

“Yes, absolutely!” we all replied at once.

If you find yourself in need of this type of support, please reach out to Golden Pond of Virginia at 703.723.3737 or megan@goldenpondvirginia.com. We are ready to help!