Finding a New Family with Senior Care Experts
Families are there for each other to celebrate the good times and help each other through the challenging times. Elizabeth Dusa had spent a lifetime caring for her son, but when her health began to turn, he became her loyal and compassionate caregiver in return. Unfortunately, he passed away suddenly, leaving Elizabeth alone with no remaining family or support.
Elizabeth grew up in Pennsylvania and is of Hungarian descent. When her son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, she was urged to institutionalize him. Although she was a single mother, she adamantly refused and took measures into her own hands. Elizabeth kept his health under control by monitoring his diet and keeping detailed journals of everything he ate. As a result, she was able to keep him healthy.
While maintaining this focus on her son, she led a frugal lifestyle in Annandale, Va. working as a secretary. In a true success story, her son eventually received a PhD in Physics, became an astronomer and had a celebrated career with the FBI.
With no one to care for her following her son’s death, Adult Protective Services (APS) was called in to help Elizabeth. They in turn contacted Elizabeth “Liz” Gray, an elder law attorney who now serves as the guardian for Ms. Dusa.
“I had to clean out the house, get her settled in Fairfax Nursing Center, and make sure she was well cared for,” said Ms. Gray. “She was losing weight, she wouldn’t let anyone touch her, she would scream and cry regularly, and at times was very combative.”
Ms. Gray then hired Elder Care Consultants, a geriatric care management firm to assist her in monitoring and coordinating Elizabeth’s care. Ms. Gray and Dia Loken, the RN and Care Manager assigned to Elizabeth’s case, observed that she was more comfortable around male caregivers, which they attributed to her strong relationship with her son.
They felt that finding a dedicated male caregiver that she could trust might enable them to reduce the medications Elizabeth was on to control her anxiety and combativeness. The search was more challenging than expected, so Dia connected with BestCare Home Care where she was introduced to Hugo Ruiz-Menandez, a trained physician in his native country of Bolivia.
“The care he provides to Elizabeth is extraordinary and the bond that the two of them have is exceptional. They are referred to as a little married couple at Fairfax Nursing Center because they are together always,” said Dia. “Her quality of life has been enhanced.”
Dia and the other professionals involved in Elizabeth’s case cannot emphasize enough the positive change they have seen in her.
“It was almost daily that she was getting into a physical altercation with another resident,” said Vanessa Bishop of ElderCare Consultants. “Now she is in love with her aide and has really calmed down.”
According to Dia, they have even been able to reduce Elizabeth’s medications as she has been consistently gaining weight and is rarely sick. Hugo also gives her fantastic skin care and the mere sound of his voice seems to calm Elizabeth down.
“I am very impressed with the responsiveness and work ethic of the caregivers and management at BestCare,” said Dia. “There are so many home care agencies to choose from, and it’s important not to tolerate substandard care. I don’t second guess their attention and care.”
She explained how important it is to have a team approach to care, especially in medically-complicated situations. The team is tuned into changes and is able to report to the physician in a timely and accurate manner.
Now Elizabeth, who once seemed alone, has quite the caring support network and essentially a different kind of family that will continually be there for her.
“I fell in love with her when I met her because she was so feisty,” said Dia. “In fact I have a picture of her on my refrigerator. My family refers to her affectionately as ‘The Duce.'”