Nancy’s home presented one of the most beautiful picturesque settings I had ever seen.  Set deep in the Ozark Mountains, surrounded by a flowing creek and high ridges, the little cabin like house was rimmed with flower gardens enclosed in wood picket fences.  Guinea hens picked in the lawn.  Lawn chairs and a park bench indicated that the gardener spent time sitting to enjoy and observe all this beauty. I was looking forward to meeting this caregiver.  My orders were to explore caregiver respite for a daughter who had cared for her bedbound mother for now many years.  No other details from the nurses – no reason to think that this case was going to be exceptional and one that I would never forget. The woman who met me at the door was tired. She had been beautiful, with long gray hair pulled back and now a thin and stressed face. She smiled a greeting, but with little enthusiasm she asked me to come in.  I entered the living room which was completely filled with a hospital bed in the middle, surrounded by a hoyer lift and numerous side tables and baskets of laundry. There was little other furniture, onlyRead More

Wilbur and his wife built a successful business together. They worked together every day of their 40 year marriage. They raised two children and were very close to them and to their grandchildren. Wilbur and Paula had many friends, a large church family, and many people who loved and cared about them. Wilbur sold the business when Paula was no longer able to keep the books and manage the office. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease at age 65. As the disease progressed and she needed personal care, Wilbur refused help saying, “she took care of me, our kids and business all those years, I’ll take care of her.”  Behavioral challenges became routine and Paula wandered. She refused to eat so Wilbur would sit for two hours feeding her tiny bites just to get her to eat solid food. Wilbur lost weight, suffered from headaches from the stress, and never had a full night’s sleep.  He was urged to hire help or to move his wife to a special dementia care facility. Wilbur refused his children’s attepts at interventions and he refused to allow his children to care for his wife.  At first friends visited, but as Paula’s behaviors began to make visitors feel uncomfortable andRead More