I have been engaged in the Alzheimer’s journey both personally and professionally over the last ten years. On a personal basis, my mother had Alzheimer’s and had a very long and arduous experience. She was fortunate, however, in that she remained at home and had family caregivers that dedicated themselves to her care in the last six months of her life. Her behavioral changes were a challenge to all involved. I do believe that last few weeks were ones of comfort and she died surrounded by love.
Professionally, I owned and operated a hospice that was a national leader in the care of patients with dementia. In 2004 I recognized the need to create an array of services that could be customized to specifically address the care needs of end-of-life dementia patients. The management team embraced the notion of specialization and a year of research allowed us to offer the program. All employees were required to complete a training program of 5 days, in which all modalities of treatment were taught. Over the years, hundreds of patients and families have utilized the services and outcomes that are meaningful have been reported.
The company was sold in 2011, however the dementia program continues and my commitment to expert quality care continues. I now participate in education and campaigns focused on care and services.