Increasing One’s Quality of Life
Keeping the family together in their close-knit neighborhood was the first priority for Bonnie Leisure when considering care for her father, Ray Stone. Mr. Stone, a former steelworker and welder, has lived in the same neighborhood for most of his life, and his family has not strayed very far. Bonnie, his only child, lives across the street. One of his two granddaughters lives right beside him; the other is just around the corner. His five great grandchildren are always dropping in after soccer practice or ballet lessons. Mr. Stone had never considered moving.
However, when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s leaving his beloved neighborhood became almost inevitable. Bonnie explains the rapid progression of the disease: “I went over every morning before going to work to check on my father. On one occasion, the house was filled with smoke; I panicked and started yelling for him. He answered me and wanted to know why I was so upset. He really didn’t see a problem. It turns out that he had installed a piece to the wood stove’s chimney backwards.”
She continues, “Just a few weeks later, he was acting strange one morning, so I called my daughter, and we went over to investigate. We found several pieces of furniture sitting upside down. When I asked my Dad about it, he insisted that someone must have broken in. We had the police come over to investigate, and they assured us that there had been no forced entry. Finally, the officers helped us convince him to go to the hospital. When he did, the doctors confirmed our suspicions; my father was suffering from Alzheimer’s.”
His doctors provided medication to help control the symptoms, but as Mr. Stone’s confusion and disorientation increased, they recommended to Bonnie that he move to a nursing facility. She was adamantly against this idea-knowing that a move would further upset and confuse her already ailing father. She asked about home care, but the doctors strongly believed that Mr. Stone would receive better care at a nursing center.
Going against their recommendations, Bonnie contacted Nurses Available, a local home care agency that one of her daughter’s friends worked for. Mr. Stone has been receiving 24 hour home care for the past four years now, and his physical and mental condition has improved. “My father’s personal hygiene has improved dramatically with the help of the Nurses Available staff, and that, in turn, has really improved his overall health and mood,” relates Bonnie.
She and the rest of the family have also benefited: “For me, home care has provided peace of mind; I used to worry constantly. For all of us, it has been nice to be secure enough to travel. We took the grandkids to Disney Word, and it was a great trip that provided lasting memories for all of us.”
Finding the time to unwind from caregiving responsibilities is very important, as is knowing that your loved one is receiving the best possible care. “I think home care has really increased my father’s quality of life. Having him at home-surrounded by family and a familiar environment-has helped us all,” concludes Bonnie.