Patience and persistence were key to helping Nora find more stability.
Persistence and Patience
Nora | February 9, 2018 | Family Care Client
“She’s definitely on the right track, getting her personality back,” Mary says of her sister Nora. “I never thought we’d come this far, but she’s pretty much back to normal. She’s come a long way.”
Prior to Nora, 51, being referred to the Care Wisconsin Family Care program, her cognitive functioning had declined so that she needed extensive assistance with all facets of daily living. She had been hospitalized a number of times during her life for mental health issues and in 2012 was again put in the hospital for psychotic behavior and failing to care for her medical needs.
At the time, Nora was experiencing a number of symptoms from poor memory, depressed mood, and irritability to incoherent speech, memory loss, and psychomotor agitation. Still, Nora and her sister expressed an interest in residing in a less restrictive environment and in a community setting and were referred to the Green Lake Aging and Disability Resource Center, where they eventually learned about Family Care and Care Wisconsin.
Goal Was Finding New Home
When Nora was enrolled in the spring of 2013, her Care Wisconsin care team began working on the goal of finding a new home. She moved into a community based residential facility (CBRF) where she could initially receive assistance bathing, dressing, and other care needs a few months later. At first Nora did not understand the proper use of the toilet and needed help with all meal preparation, laundry/chores, telephone use, and transportation. Staff also was administering all of her medications because she had previously had issues managing her diabetes. At first she needed step-by-step instructions and constant supervision to complete any task and refused to receive assistance unless from one particular staff member.
In addition, Nora was experiencing behavioral symptoms such as confusion, disorganized speech, emotional distress, anxiety, temper flare-ups, frequent and extreme mood changes, episodes of unprovoked crying, and lack of impulse control. The staff developed a Behavioral Support Plan to help Nora begin to replace these challenging behaviors with more positive ones.
Since first enrolling, Nora has made significant improvement in all areas of her life. She now only needs cues to bathe and dress on her own and is completely independent with toileting.Staff at the CBRF does complete all meal preparation for Nora, but she is actively involved with planning the menu. Nora has started to track medical appointments on her calendar as well as her own blood sugars and is dedicated to an exercise routine of walking to help better manage her diabetes.
At first she didn’t want to be there, but now she’s pretty much running the joint,” Mary says. Mary says she knows the other residents and still likes to get in their face, but is now much more part of the facility than she had been.
Nora’s mental health has also become much more stable since her enrollment. She has been able to come off of some of her mental health medications. She no longer has regular episodes of crying, is cooperative with her care needs, is much more clear in her mind and is able to maintain a conversation with others. Her anxiety seems more controlled and temper flare-ups are less frequent. Episodes of verbal aggression toward staff and residents have also significantly decreased. Nora seems to understand her limitations at this time and has a better insight into her disability.
Nora’s relationships with her two sons, her sister Mary, and other family members have also improved. She has a cell phone with unlimited calling and texting so she can stay in touch and also sends cards to her grandsons.
Mary says the care team was essential in helping Nora. They tried a number of different things and if that didn’t work they were willing to try something else until they found the right solution for Nora.
“Don’t give up. The key to all this is patience,” Mary says. “This is about the long-term, the long duration.”