Grace Place Is Elsa’s Saving Grace
- May 12, 2017
- Posted by: swebadmin
- Category: Community Corner
A year and a half ago, “Elsa” moved to San Antonio to provide care for her mother who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Elsa began working a full time job and managing the care of her mother and elderly father with their health issues. Each day Elsa would leave work, race home at lunch and check on her elderly parents.
She soon employed a family member to provide in-home care for her parents but often came home to find her mother placed in front of the television. “Maria” had many long and frustrating days and nights at home. She walked the halls at home restlessly. She pulled clothes out of drawers and would frantically start packing, staying awake most of the night. Getting her mother to take baths and into her pajamas was very difficult. Elsa got very little sleep each night only to return to work each morning.
After a friend mentioned Grace Place, Elsa set an appointment to meet with the Program Director. “She was the kindest person ever. She was just so nice to me and encouraged me to bring my mother in to the center.” When her mother visited Grace Place for the first time, Maria was still very attached to her daughter.
During that first visit, a CNA staff member approached her mom, inviting her to have some coffee and cookies and Maria soon followed. “I knew my mother was going to be fine because of the staff and the hearts they have. They care so much, you can just tell. I leave my mom and I have one less thing to worry about.”
The decision to place her mother in an adult activity center was not easy for Elsa. “You always question yourself –is this right? But I knew it was right because it just felt right.” Even so, the financial stress of working and paying for care was immense. However, her mother received a scholarship to receive care free of charge to remove that burden.
Maria loves the meals provided at Grace Place, the activities that stimulate her and keep her interested. Her daughter enjoys reading the monthly calendar that provides her with a look at what she will be doing each day. “When I bring my mother here I am not stressed and I feel good. I know she is with people who love and care for her even when she can be a handful! She is getting better care here than when she was being cared for at home by her own family member.”
Elsa picks her mother up after spending the day at the center. They get home and just spend time together – talking, eating and reading. No longer did Elsa have to walk her mother to bed each night as she had in the past. Her mother began to walk to bed on her own and suddenly, she began to sleep through the night. This changed everything for Elsa as a caregiver who was able to get some much needed sleep of her own. Elsa believes these things happened because her mother suddenly felt safe. She is confident that the schedule and routine at Grace Place had a big impact on this because it provided her with routine and Maria knew what her day was going to be like each time.
“She thinks she is going to school,” Elsa shares with a smile. “Now she knows where she is going every day and even on the weekends she asks ‘are we going to school today?’” “It is the culture here. That is the word that I am looking for. It is my saving’s grace,” said Elsa. When her father passed away recently in the midst of her caring for her mother, Elsa got her mom into the car and they took a little drive. With the sunroof open, her mom asked, “Where are we going?” Elsa calmly replied, “Wherever the world takes us.”
Grace Place Alzheimer’s Activity Center is San Antonio’s only non-profit dementia-specific adult day activity center. The program provides socialization and activities for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, focusing on the strengths and remaining abilities of clients, who are facilitated by staff who are trained in dementia care.