When my mom was diagnosed with Lewy Body, a form of dementia, I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. Probably the worst thing I did was go on the internet and start researching the disease. I then began mentally calculating how much longer I had with Mom.
For a while, Mom was able to stay home with Dad. We hired a social worker to evaluate her and as a family, agreed she could stay at home. Dad said he could manage.
It is so hard to know when it’s time.
Paranoia is a symptom of Lewy Body. When Dad came home to two police cars in his driveway because Mom had walked to a neighbor’s house and told her that he was trying to kill her, we realized the time was now.
I remember crying when I toured assisted living communities. I felt like I was letting her down by not letting her live at home. But once Mom moved into Allegro Hyde Park, she began to thrive. Her paranoia diminished remarkably, and her mood improved. She made lots of friends and was surrounded by caring personnel. She was happy and smiling again. I was profoundly relieved.
Still, her dementia was advancing so I researched what I could do to help her. I couldn’t bear the thought of giving her one more drug on top of the 10 she took daily. I brought her to the neurologist, and she recommended another drug. Instead, I chose cognitive stimulation.
I began working with Nicole Scheidl, founder of Fit Minds Cognitive Health Products in Canada as a business advisor. I visited Canada and met with Chartwell’s National Director of Memory Care. Chartwell is the largest senior living provider in Canada and offers Fit Minds programming in each of its communities ~ all 181.
When Nicole agreed I could launch Fit Minds in the US, I was thrilled. I bet you can guess who was one of our first clients. Mom. Allegro Hyde Park was the first senior living community in the US to offer Fit Minds large group cognitive stimulation programming and Mom had personal 1-on-1 coaching two times a week. Her Lewy Body even stabilized for an entire year which is rare for that disease.
I lost Mom last January. I miss her every day in profound ways. But Mom had an exceptional quality of life in her last year 2 ½ years. She started reading again, writing again and felt empowered. Her coach became a dear, personal friend.
My mom is why I founded Fit Minds here in the US. I’d enjoy the opportunity to tell you more.