How it Started: Living with Dementia
By Kumar Saha, Founder of My Place Home Care
My Place Home Care was established as a result of a son who had to watch his mother, a retired nurse, battle through an illness that took her sight, her hearing, her balance, her ability to speak and her overall willingness to live a happy healthy life.
My mother, Michèle, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when she was 60 years old. By the time she was diagnosed, the doctor told her she had likely been dealing with the disease for about 10 years. During those 10 years of her not knowing she had the disease, damage had already started to occur to her heart and blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nerves. Once diagnosed, treatment consisted of diet, medications and monitoring her sugar levels daily. She was living in a condo and was independent, but she was starting to become forgetful and was not necessarily taking her medications or checking her sugar levels. The need for constant supervision and care became evident.
My mother lived two minutes away from my house, so it was not hard for me to check in on her regularly. However, when I travelled for work, which was often, there was no one to check on her. This was a cause for concern. We then ended up moving away, creating additional stress for my mother, as she was unable to visit her grandkids as often since she did not drive. We did have visits, but they were not as often as she would have liked as she could no longer just walk over to our house.
As her health deteriorated, we relied on the assistance of home care through the public system. The issue I had was the number of different personal support workers coming through the door. Although we were told it would be the same person for each visit, it rarely was. With my mother developing vascular dementia, which was unbeknownst to us, it became more and more stressful for her to have these people assist her. They would just show up and insist on her taking her bath and getting dressed and such. During one home care visit, I went to check in on my mother. The person sent to help my mother was just sitting there staring at her phone and not trying to interact with my mother. I sent that person away and started to look at retirement homes so that my mother could be cared for properly, given that I was not able to do so on a regular basis.
My mother went into a retirement home and slowly but surely felt more and more isolated as she did not want to socialize regardless of what the retirement home staff tried to get her to do. She fell into depression and became more and more confused with her dementia. The people at the retirement home were not trained to deal with the dementia, and we were not made aware of any issues until it was too late. Her care level increased, as did the cost, and she was on a fixed income.
It was time to look at long-term care facilities. We started the search, but it took almost two years to have her placed. Once she was in the long-term care facility, the care level was excellent; however, again, there were so many people in the facility, I wondered about her individual care. There were three personal support workers for a floor with about 20 to 24 patients. That made personal care difficult: regardless of how much the staff wanted to do for everyone, it was virtually impossible.
As time went on, I would visit my mother at the home, which by the way was quite nice, and find that she was not all there, and our conversations were limited. She would only answer with one word at a time. It broke my heart. My mother passed away in October 2014.
Soon after that, I decided to help others maintain their independence and stay in their own homes for as long as possible and to make sure no one must go through what I went through alone. The health care system is a difficult system to navigate. If I knew then what I know now, I think my mother would have had a happier life as she aged instead of falling into depression like she did, and she would not have been as isolated regardless of us being around her as much as possible.
This company is for her and for you, and my mother would be happy to help since that was exactly who she was — a nurse by profession and a loving, caring woman who always put others’ needs ahead of her own. Let My Place Home Care work with you to ensure your quality of living remains as high as possible.