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She’s Laughing Again

Eric Blackwelder brought his mother, Kay, to live at Carillon Assisted Living of Mooresville as many adult children of a parent with Alzheimer’s do; with fear, guilt and a sense of failure. He remembers that day in August of last year well.

“I was adamant that no one, and I mean no one, was going to take better care of my mother than I could in my home.  The day we came to Carillon was a tough day for all of us.”

The months leading up to that day had been tough, as well. Kay Blackwelder’s cognitive decline began in her early seventies. By early 2013, she could no longer live on her own. Eric and his family assumed responsibility for her day-to-day care, and moved her into his home.  He says he realized quickly that caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s would be an enormous challenge, and it was.

“She just wasn’t herself at all. We went through stages of her being combative, argumentative. She was never that way before. It was like, ‘Where did my mom go?’ It’s devastating to see that happen to someone you love.”

Within six months of moving his mother in, Eric and his family realized they would not be able to care for her at home much longer. After researching several Alzheimer’s care communities in the Charlotte and Lake Norman area, they settled on The Garden Place at Carillon Assisted Living of Mooresville.

Eric visited every day for the first several weeks. What he saw on those daily visits was not at all what he expected.

“She was happy. She was eating better. She was speaking more. She was laughing again! I couldn’t believe it. She hadn’t laughed in ages. Within a week she was calling Carillon her home.”

His fears allayed, Eric says the Alzheimer’s care team gently took him aside and assured him that daily visits were not necessary; that it was time for his mom to live her life, and for him to live his. Now he visits twice a week, and looks forward to those visits rather than dreading them.

“I can’t wait to see what mom and her friends are doing. I feel so welcomed into that community. You have this idea of what an Alzheimer’s facility is going to be like, and you think: depressing. But Carillon of Mooresville is beautiful, happy, warm, and fun.

I’ve worked in the healthcare field myself, and I’ve honestly never seen more caring individuals than the people who work at Carillon. From the caregivers to the dining staff, the maintenance people and administrators – everyone treats my mother like she is their own family. And they’ve taught me so much about the disease of Alzheimer’s, how to communicate with my mom and what to expect. It’s given me such relief and peace of mind.”






Posted in Alzheimer's and Dementia Care, Perspectives on Alzheimer's, Resident and Community Life, Resources Tagged , on February 20, 2014

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