Making a Difference
William and Esther
Married for fifty-seven years, William and Esther were both diagnosed with dementia within five years of each other. They were no longer able to care for themselves and as a result, their daughter Jane moved William and Esther into her two-bedroom apartment that she already shares with her daughter and granddaughter. Jane, her daughter and granddaughter must work to support the needs of the family and William and Esther are surviving on a very low income.
With the generous support of donors such as the Valle Monte League, the Alzheimer’s Activity Center has been able to provide William and Esther dementia specific social day care services six days per week. When we informed Jane that her parents would receive over 90% of their services as a scholarship through the generosity of our donors, she wept with relief. Initially, William and Esther were reluctant to start a new routine. They complained constantly, self-isolated, and were even combative with staff. Despite this, staff maintained unwavering patience and support. Within a month, the couple became more social and participated in a variety of activities that stimulated their cognitive abilities and increased their physical activity. As they spent more time at the center, reliance upon the security and comfort of being around their daughter became less necessary.
They also felt comfortable to interact with their new friends and participate in activities as a couple or independent from one another which has reduced their bickering and improved the overall family well-being. The benefits of the services at the center extend beyond the impact on William and Esther; in addition to weekly respite care, their daughter attends three monthly support groups which she credits to helping with her mental health and relieving caregiver fatigue. The center has allowed their daughter to restore a sense of balance in her own life by enabling her to tend to her own needs and well-being.