Mother Theresa once said, “It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.”
Professional caregivers often become a part of the families who hire them. They are recognized as indispensable individuals who provide love, support and reliable, consistent care. There are currently an estimated 50 million people nationwide who care for the elderly, ill, or disabled. And, those figures are growing with the number of people age 65 and over expected to double in the next 40 years, and the number of those over 85 predicted to more than triple.
Nancy B, who had previously held the position of Director of Global Treasury at a major international corporation, had also been the sole caregiver for her own mother, Gloria, who is turning 100 this April. Nancy’s job required constant travel, so when her mother then age 96 and exhibiting the first signs of dementia -- fell and broke her knee, Nancy realized that it was time to reach out for help and that her mother’s safety depended on it.
Four years later and now suffering with severe dementia, Nancy’s mom, Gloria is receiving 24/7 care in her Upper Westside, New York City apartment by two different caregivers, Ramona and Melania, who work in shifts with one another. Nancy had contacted ACCESS Nursing Services when she made the decision to find a professional caregiver for her mother. She thought that it would be impossible to find someone who had experience caring for an elderly woman who has dementia and speaks only Spanish. “But ACCESS Nursing was able to match us perfectly – with not just one wonderful caregiver for my mom, I have two of the best for her!” Nancy said.
She added, “They are God’s gifts to me; our angels who have helped both my mother and me through this challenging transition to the next level of severe dementia.”
Nancy calls Ramona her “resident Alzheimer’s expert” and explains that Ramona had taken it upon herself to attend classes led by Alzheimer’s experts so that she would be better able to interpret and respond to Gloria’s behaviors.
“Ramona and Melania are real professionals. They have the knowledge and insight to predict my mother’s behaviors and responses,” she said. “We’ve been able to avoid many potentially negative situations because they are able to recognize certain triggers and step in at exactly the right time.”
Nancy added that although she visits her mom every day, she now has peace of mind knowing that her mother is happy, safe and has round-the-clock emotional support and physical care when she is unable to be with her. “Their system is seamless. When Ramona needs to leave, Melania is already there to start her shift. They cover for one another, even if one of them needs a sick day or goes on vacation. In four years, I have never had to worry.”
Nancy said that as she plans her mom’s upcoming 100th birthday celebration, she is looking forward to Ramona and Melania celebrating with the rest of her family. “They are family too and an invaluable part of our lives,” she said.