“I have three beautiful examples of how much it means to us and turned what is a really hard, difficult time in everyone’s life—because we all have to experience it, into positive, good memories at the end instead of bad.”
In 2009 or 2010, Susan’s mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and was in a different senior care facility where she wasn’t getting enough care or attention.
With her mother’s habit of wandering and having gotten out of the facility on three different known occasions, this became a huge source of worry for her and her family. They found her at different stores and places shopping for things because there were times that it seemed that her condition was not so bad.
“It was frightening and those were the times I knew about. So, she could’ve gotten out other times and I [wouldn’t] even know of [them].”
It was really horrible.
In 2008, the hospice agency Susan worked for at the time had patients at Verona Court. One of the nurses said “you should talk to Arda because she has more than care homes.”
According to Susan,
“Arda was very gracious and helpful in navigating and fitting the needs that my mother had at that time, and where she was in that decline… what they had to offer. It was a smaller setting with just up to 6 residents. She would get the care she needs and be in a smaller environment.”
Commenting on what the search for a new place required, she said “when looking for places, you need to look at the residents themselves.” In her mother’s case, the previous facility was too big for her personality.
Finding a place where her mother was properly looked after was important to her. Additionally, the homes were close to her home so they could visit regularly.
“Arda explained everything clearly. She helped with the anxiety I had over switching care and not providing the care for my family myself.”
There is a want to take care of your family, but the truth is that you just can’t or need extra help, especially if you work or have someone like my mom with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
Her mother was described as “not difficult, she was just going through that decline. She was a really sweet soul, she liked to dance. She got caregivers to dance with her, she had a great sense of humor, and was really funny. She took care of my dad for 10 years when he had Parkinson’s… She was a really tough woman.”
When she started with dementia, it was just… devastating.
In 2008 she met with Arda and decided to move her mother to Verona Court. She never worried about her mom being at the home because she could visit anytime she wanted, had excellent communication from Arda, and the staff were always there if there was a need, or if there was anything concerning they would always keep Susan updated.
“It really relieved my and my family’s anxiety and concern.”
Her mother stayed with Parentis and Verona court for eight years. “Mom was always physically healthy; she was well cared for—even as she declined. There was never a health concern she had, and if there was, someone always explained it to me.”
Subsequently, her father-in-law and mother-in-law also utilized Parentis Health services.
When her father-in-law was in town for a visit, in Orange County on a respite, he was living out of state with his wife. However, his wife needed a break from providing care, and as Susan puts it, “he’s a very difficult man.”
Her father-in-law could only be described as a man with a mischievous nature.
“He was a handful, funny, larger than life character. He smoked a pipe and cigar his entire life.”
Arda worked with Susan for a few months providing respite care because Susan could have him home, but “we couldn’t take care of him ourselves, he required too much care.”
He used to insist on smoking his pipe outside (which isn’t permitted in the homes). So, the caregivers would take him for a walk so he could go smoke. He would tell these wildly crazy stories. “Some which were true and some that I doubted that he would make up. He would joke with the caregivers, he was difficult and they were so kind to him despite being [mischievous].”
Her family was able to be with him for a few more months until he had to go back home. Soon after though, he passed away.
She recalled “it was really important for my husband to be with his dad and his grandchildren to have [been] with him.”
Her mother-in-law had a few falls and had broken a bone—which led to a few months for respite in Verona Court rather than going to a skilled nursing facility; which was preferable because she received better attention there.
She had home health, she had all of that, but was still comfortable and able to get the care that she needed assistance when she needed it, etc.
She was in the Navy—very prim, proper, and loved to dress. “She absolutely had to be dressed everyday, and look nice. She was very particular about her clothes—her clothes being washed, put away, folded, and she was aware of that all. She loved to shop, watch TV, loved politics—a very smart woman.”
After falling again at home, her mother-in-law moved into Verona Court once again.
“It was the best thing because she had a nice room, good food, she was cared for, we could see her, she got outside, the caregivers made sure that she had what she needed and they accommodated her. And she had somebody to talk to. She absolutely loved going to the mall with her caregiver and they would do lunch… and that made her really happy.”
“She was sharp until the very end, which was uncommon for the people at her status. They weren’t used to dealing with someone like that, but Arda tried really hard to find good matches… So, it was right till the end.”
Similarly, Susan’s mother also utilized hospice care. She describes it as “amazing right through the end.”
“In her first year at Verona Court, they had a Christmas party. She was so happy to have everyone around. There were singers and they were caroling, and she was singing with them and dancing with Tarek. It was just lovely to see her happy.”
She was happy in that moment and we could be there with her.
“When my mother passed, I was in Indiana with my children and the administrator called me right away while I was there, and he told me what the status was and I was able to get a flight right back. In the meantime, I wasn’t there, but my family was there.”
They were there with family because my mother passed while I was gone. There is no price you can put on that support.
“I feel for people who don’t have that support because we had so much support and with the hospice working together with Verona Court. They had support from a spiritual counselor if you needed it, a social worker, all of it.
“The family support you get by having hospice is huge. Some people have misperceptions about hospice—they think that hospice causes death or expedites death, and that is not the case at all… They make the patient comfortable, they make the family comfortable, they answer all the questions, they’re there when there’s an emergency.”
Her mom had an amazing experience with Parentis Health services until the very end.
I don’t know what we would’ve done without that support.