Special Care for “Special K”
We took care of Kay for three years. We nicknamed her “Special K,” because she became so special to us. Kay was in her early 80’s when we first met, and her memory was beginning to slip. She was not taking her medication properly, an error that was caught by her pharmacist when she returned for a refill too early. Her doctor and family were notified and it turned into a very embarrassing and humiliating situation for this once very independent woman. Kay’s family called us for help.
To say that Special K didn’t welcome the involvement of a geriatric care manager at first would be an understatement. She was a very proud woman who was reluctant to admit that she needed help. However, over time, our care managers developed a warm and trusting relationship with Kay. She began to look forward to our Tuesday visits for pill refills and doctor check-ups. Eventually, she relied upon the care managers to take care of her, which we did.
As Kay’s memory loss progressed, we were able to anticipate her needs and make sure the help she needed was available to her. She was able to safely function at home with only the support of our care managers for a while. However, as her dementia progressed she eventually needed the assistance of an hourly home health aide who assisted her with showering, laundry and meal preparation…and then progressed to the care of a beloved live-in aide who helped her with those tasks plus dressing, remembering to take her pills, and walking with supervision to keep her from falling.
The addition of a stair lift on the main staircase, grab bars in the bathroom, and a few other modifications didn’t bother our Special K at all, because it was more important to her that she remain in her own home, surrounded by her personal possessions. She was still Queen of the House and that made her feel good.
Kay’s adult children were very supportive and loving, and it pleased them to be able to honor their mom’s wishes to stay in her own home. They also appreciated being able to feel confident that their mother was well-cared for in a safe environment that made her happy.