April 18, 2019
To Whom It May Concern,
I have been working with Elayne for over 4 years to guide me through the process of managing the care of my parents who both have dementia. I initially called when times were extremely tough and I was at a loss for how to deal with the situation. I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and I was standing on a deserted island made of quicksand.
I recall in great detail my initial one and a half hour conversation, and everything I was told sounded so logical but, at the time, seemed impossible to implement. After all, they are my parents. They are supposed to be the ones calling the shots. They are supposed to be the strong ones. They are supposed to be happy for me and allow me to enjoy my life that they helped me prepare for. I spent my most of my career building and running a successful company and I am a problem solver. Why can’t I solve this problem? Answer: it is an unsolvable problem. The good news: it can be managed.
I had an initial meeting with Elayne and she started to coach me on how to manage the situation. Just like any significant change we try to make in ourselves, it takes lots of repetition, practice and time. The mantra she taught me that I always go back to for comfort in the process is – I am doing my best to make sure that my parents are safe and well cared for. That is all we can do. Remember, we can’t fix the underlying problem. That mantra has given me comfort when I wish the circumstances could be better.
Elayne performed a detailed assessment of my parents and provided a written care navigation plan. Elayne, my wife (a significant part of the care team) and I met regularly to update on the status and discuss the next steps. Elayne always emphasizes the need for us to take care of ourselves as caregivers. We forget to do that, particularly as we see ourselves as beholden to our parents. Her guidance has always been on point. Elayne utilized my experience and personality to guide me to tap into my strengths to utilize in the process. She taught me that I needed to build a team and manage that team, just like at work – find the best and get rid of those that don’t perform. That applied to the various doctors (primary care, neurologist, and geriatric psychiatrist), adult day care center, private live-in caregivers, etc. She helped me find and evaluate each of these members of my team.
Early in the process, Elayne guided me on the process of having a durable power of attorney and health care surrogate documents for my parents and introduced me to an attorney that assisted in the process. When my mom went through a rough patch with her health, I was guided through the process of getting her on hospice to assist in the care.
While my goal has been to keep my parents in their home, we are now at the point where we need to evaluate moving them to an assisted living facility. This is another tough decision in this journey that we all never want to have to make. Remember the mantra – do our best, safe and well cared for. Elayne has guided me as to what I need to look for in a facility given my parents particular situation and needs. She helped call facilities to ask the tough questions and helped develop a plan for transition. This leg of the journey is still in process, but I am confident that with the guidance of Elayne and her team everything will be OK.
There were definitely some challenging times with caring for my parents over the last four years. However, I know for certain that it has been a lot better than it would have been without the help of Elayne. I am forever grateful for all they have done for me and my family.