The first Clinic of Expertise offered brought a local Blue Hill woman in to see me. She spent more than an hour talking with me about her husband who has dementia, his 4 adult children and the huge farm that they operate. She also shared that she had been a caregiver for her first husband when she was much younger as he passed away at a young age of a chronic illness. This was her 2nd marriage.
She came in asking for information about dementia, how to access help for not only her husband’s care but also for their farm. She also asked if I could help with suggestions about how to work with his adult children as they all live far away, are very busy professionals, and didn’t seem to want to hear that their dad was struggling. She was concerned that she would not receive any support of assistance from them.
Of course we covered the usual information, support groups, in-home care options, information about the condition, and time allowing her to talk and to cry.
When this lovely lady left, she asked if she could hug me and while doing so, said I had saved her life. How sweet she was. Our process includes a follow-up call after approximately 3 months. When I contacted her she filled me in on the latest and asked if I could continue to follow-up with her every few months as she found this connection very supportive. I did continue to talk with her quarterly for a year. I ensured that she had my name and number and told her that she could call us when she needed us again.
This is a woman I won’t forget.
— Terri Gallant, Eastern Area Agency on Aging