As a family we were beginning to face a sharp decline in my father's memory when my mother passed away suddenly. My sister, brother and I were left with a grieving father whose dementia worsened dramatically under the shock and depression of loss. My father then lived a couple of hours away from but near my sister, however after a year we decided it was best to move my father to where I lived in Orlando and with my many years with Easterseals I would lead the caregiving.
I was able to enroll my father in our Adult Day Care program and with the help of my staff get his VA benefits to cover the fees. The caregiver stress was overwhelming and I would end up bringing my Dad to the program after making stops for bouts of incontinence, and relentless repetition of where we were going, and his growing agitation. I'd arrive at the program (and work for me) flustered, sad, and exhausted before 9 a.m.!
My incredible staff sat me down and told me to stop. Just get him to the program. They would clean him up, settle his agitation and they reassured me they knew it was the disease, not my Dad that made him difficult at times. It was at that moment that after 26 years working with Easterseals that I found Easterseals. I was no longer their CEO, I was an exhausted caregiver and my team wrapped themselves around me in support each and every day.
My father has since passed away, but it is wonderful coming to work and hearing my staff's memories and knowing I was never alone. Thank you Easterseals!