TEAM SPEAR is three sisters (Liz in western NC, Sue in D.C., Pat in NYC), a geriatric care manager (GCM) and our care team at MemoryCare. Four years ago, our father’s life changed dramatically, and my sisters and I discovered that Alzheimer’s had become a part of the family. We learned about the GCM field and met and engaged one who also immediately suggested we contact MemoryCare and have Dad evaluated as fully as possible. That first 4-hour appointment was draining for everybody, but the sheer volume of thoughtful care for both Dad and me (technically the nearby caregiver) and the presentation of resources for each of us (and by extension, my sisters) was amazing. The care team explained that with time, they would be able to give a more specific diagnosis and information about Dad’s future.
After a year of periodic cognitive testing and interviews with myself and the GCM (we each visit Dad once a week), we were told that Dad likely has Vascular Dementia with a ‘frosting’ of Alzheimer’s Disease: a mixed dementia illustrated by his pattern of change. Heartbreaking, yes, but the information was HUGE! Even with the caveat of ‘most likely diagnosis’ due to the general uncertainty about dementias, the clear and practical presentation of information by our MemoryCare team was a relief.
Dad is now living safely in a secure and more socially-oriented facility; he is quite healthy, still very verbal and articulate in spite of slowly growing confusion. My weekly visit reports are shared with all of TEAM SPEAR; the GCM and MemoryCare team respond quickly to any issues that arise with explanations, recommendations and follow-up. My sisters and I found that initial learning curve to be very steep, but MemoryCare made a huge difference in our family’s peace of mind and acceptance of the future.
-Liz Spear, Daughter and Caregiver