Becoming a full-time caregiver wasn’t a difficult choice for Beverly Williams. She’s been taking care of Carrie, her mother who suffers from dementia, for 22 years now. No matter the ups and downs, Beverly is full of joy and laughter.
“I chose to dedicate my life to my mother and be a caregiver until the day I die. She gave me 18 years of her life, so I can certainly give her 18 of mine,” Beverly says.
Carrie, now 94 years old, has been attending the BakerRipley Dementia Day Center for more than 15 years.
Dementia Day Center has the right pace
The center is designed to help people with dementia to have purpose and passion in their lives, while also providing support to families and caregivers.
“When I found this place it was such a good change of pace. Momma came in happy and she left happy. She would also do things here that I didn’t know she was still capable of doing.”
Beverly explained that Carrie attended other centers in the past, but the staff wasn’t sensitive to her needs and the facilities left much to be desired.
“These are not places where you want your loved one to be in. They’re sitting in hard case chairs for most of the day and it’s not dementia only, they take people with any condition Medicare pays for,”
The activities at the day center are just what they need according to Beverly, not too overwhelming, but enough to keep them engaged.
“She can talk to people, mingle and sing songs, or play games – things of that nature. I really think it has enhanced her life and enabled me to keep her longer.” Beverly concludes.
A break for the caretakers
Having her mom at the center allows Beverly to keep a schedule. Even if it’s just for a few hours, it gives her an opportunity to take a much needed break.
“It allows me to take care of myself and to go out and do things, like spend some time in the gym. That’s a great stress reliever for me and I couldn’t do that if I had to bring Momma to the gym,”
Even with all the attention and care, there have been some scary moments. Like when Carrie went for her usual walk, got lost, crossed a busy highway, and ended up in a Walgreen’s. Luckily staff noticed, called police and was able to get her back home.
It all came crashing down
Not too long ago, there was another incident that could of been much worse.
“We have an antique solid wood armoire. I had been putting her clothes there for years and she never thought of touching it,” Beverly says.
Until one night Beverly and her husband were awakened by a loud bang!
“She decided to climb up there in the middle of the night, 2:00 a.m. with no light. Mother took a stool, climbed up and lost her balance – it all came crashing down…”
Carrie got caught under the armoire and injured her legs, but she recovered well after surgery.
“She walks very well after her back surgery. The doctor said she might not walk again but Momma was up the next day chucking down the hall,”
What happens in this center is life-giving
Beverly attributes the center for extending her mother’s life, as it helps maintain her health and what mentality she does have left.
“This place is a Godsend. Her dementia has not progressed into full blown Alzheimer’s and it hasn’t digressed any further,” remarks Beverly.
The day center is essential for the region, as it’s the only one that accepts individuals with dementia through moderate to late- moderate stages. In Texas alone, there are 360,000 older adults with Alzheimer’s disease today.
For Beverly, the center is a necessity for people that might not be able to send their parents to an assisted living facility.
“Funds for assisted living are just not available for people of moderate income. What happens in this center is life-giving in itself,
it’s a blessing to have a place like this.”