“Life Saving” LifeLinks Helps Virginia Woman Care for Mom
Caring for a loved one in failing health is a big job and fraught with ever-increasing needs. And when family members don’t live nearby, it can make an already complicated situation even more challenging.
LifeLinks’ client Randy knows those challenges intimately. Randy and her husband, Bill, live in Virginia – about an eight-hour drive from Nashville where her mother, Jane, resides. When her father died, Randy assumed responsibility for Jane’s care. Randy soon discovered there was more to overcome than just distance.
At first, because Jane’s memory was declining, she primarily needed help with her medications. Randy found the solution to that problem by moving her mother into assisted-living housing. But it wasn’t long before she realized Jane’s needs were more than the staff there could provide. She found herself traveling to Nashville more often, and she was stressed and frustrated. But one day, after a meeting with the assisted-living home staff, everything changed.
“The director suggested we try LifeLinks for the tasks, visits, and activities that could not be provided by our current piecemeal care plan,” Randy explains. “We were reluctant to bring in someone from the outside, as it seemed like one more person to manage. But after the initial interview with such well-trained and engaging personnel, we were greatly reassured.”
What LifeLinks Did
After being contacted by Randy, LifeLinks scheduled an initial assessment with her and Jane. The LifeLinks Care Team carefully put together a care plan based off the family’s specific goals. They also created a communication system to ensure Randy was updated on a daily basis of what was going on with her mother.
Jane and LifeLinks began meeting on a weekly basis. The first time they met was when LifeLinks took Jane to a doctor’s appointment. Immediately following, Randy received an email outlining the details of the appointment – the same level of detail she would have gathered herself had she been there in person.
Strong communication was important to Randy and Bill so the LifeLinks team ensured the care plan included constant follow up. “On another outing LifeLinks arranged for my mom to Nashville’s Botanical Garden, I not only received notes about the meeting but photos too,” Randy says.
LifeLinks’ highly customized services address each patient’s very specific, individual needs. And they’re provided in a way that’s engaging and personal; in fact, care managers often become viewed as a part of the family.
Life with LifeLinks
“Over the years, mom’s LifeLinks ‘friend,’ as she has come to be called, has become a lifesaver to all of us,” says Randy. “She now visits my mother twice a week, noticing new changes in mom’s mobility, the progression of her dementia, toiletry problems, loneliness, sadness or unrealized dreams. They talk honestly about whatever presents itself, which provides my mom with a treasured companion and friend.”
As Jane’s needs continue to increase, the LifeLinks care manager recognizes and addresses them. For example, Randy describes a few of her special requests, all of which have been met. “These include keeping up a reliable refill of Depends in mom’s bureau and consulting the nurse whenever there was extra pain with walking or confusion due to a urinary infection. At one point, my mother’s incontinence worsened, and her LifeLinks care manager suggested an increased level of care to help with bathing and dressing needs. These, and countless other details, have eased our minds greatly and improved Mom’s quality of life.”
LifeLinks provides much more than just everyday living assistance for Jane, says Randy’s husband, Bill. “The LifeLinks staff are trained as social workers, and they understand the aging process. I have described LifeLinks as life savers. They help us understand the steps that need to be taken as her care needs increase. They let us know what to expect as she travels this road to her eventual passing.”
Bill adds, “LifeLinks has been there consistently over many years, helping Randy’s mother in her later life and relieving us of some of the stress of caring for an elderly loved one from afar.”