People with dementia can face an uphill struggle as their symptoms worsen, but it is always uplifting to see what the human spirit can accomplish. With compassionate care and professional help, our dementia clients have managed amazing things. No one chooses to get dementia, but we do have a choice in how we adapt our lives to it – and every day, we witness amazing successes stories that inspire.
Dementia Care Case Study. The Lady with the Green Thumb
Betty was 90 years old. She lived alone, right up until she had a fall and hurt her knee. Her symptoms were relatively mild until then, but after the fall, the surgery, recovery in the hospital, the medication… it just made her dementia worse.
I remember when we first met her, she was jittery and she would speak in this tiny, soft voice. She seemed so fragile. So shy. She was withdrawing from the world.
Our staff got to know Betty and we soon realized she had a real passion for gardening. We had a garden onsite and brought her out there; she just lit up! She’d be out there all the time, sharing her passion and knowledge for all of the varieties of flowers and vegetables. It wasn’t just a garden – it was a familiar place, full of life and love. Her whole personality changed because she had something to look forward to every day.
Her work in the garden helped her physically, emotionally, energetically and she got her confidence back. Now she wanted to do the exercises so she could stay strong and continue working in the garden. She made friends in the community. As her knee recovered, she regained some more of her independence, going to the store, buying groceries and doing more and more for herself. She’s in assisted living now, in a community where she’s happy and engaged – living a full life.
Dementia Care Case Study. The Music Man
He was 90 years old when he lost his life partner and found himself alone in the world. In his younger years, he’d devoted himself to his work at the bank, where he was always around others – but for the last few years, so much of his life had been tied up in his relationship. His late partner had been physically active and outgoing – but when they were gone, he found himself staying at home, losing touch with the outside world.
Our at-home care givers would come for a few hours a week – and at first, the situation was very bleak. His grief was overwhelming and he was reluctant to go out.
After persistent effort, one care worker recognized the man’s true passion: music! Putting on the classic tunes that the client had always loved stirred something in him.
When the change came, it was dramatic. Beyond food, the client remembered his love for fine food. We took him to have dinner out in the community – and something clicked that day. His old confidence was back!
“Being with people again has given me a new outlook on life,” the client said. “I feel that connection again.” He recognized he’d been isolating himself – and now he was ready to get back out there into the world.
Dementia Care Case Study. The Marrying Man
He was 70 years old when we first met him. In his younger days, he’d been a teacher and traveled the world, teaching English in Japan. Lately, he was living in his daughter’s basement suite and his situation was in steep decline. Depression, memory loss and existing mental health issues were getting worse. He was even suicidal. His daughter was overwhelmed by trying to care for him. Their relationship was nearly at a breaking point.
It wasn’t too late, though. Finally was getting the care he needed – not least of which was a change in his medications that he was taking before he came to us. His mental state improved to the point that he started teaching again, online. He rediscovered his passion for life – but that wasn’t all.
Connecting with old friends he’d had from when he’d taught in Japan, one connection was woman he’d taught in his younger days. They hit it off so well that before long, they decided to get married!
The client’s recovery nearly hit a tragic end as he experienced a heart trauma and was taken to the hospital. “Before I got help, I was in a bad place,” he said from his hospital bed. “But look at me now, with a new lease on life, married in my 70s – I have happiness in my life. I want to live.” He got out of the hospital, lives with his new wife and his relationship with his daughter is better than it has been in years.
Dementia Care Case Study. The Fashion Plate
Sam had been a machine shop mechanic in his younger days – a real hands-on guy who worked hard during the day and strutted his stuff in the latest fashions at night.
He’d had a full life – but 80 years old, in physical decline and facing progressively worse dementia symptoms, it seemed like all of the good days were behind him.
Sam’s neighbors noticed he was isolating himself. The grounds were unkept, no garbage was coming out and neighbors noticed lights going on and off at odd times of day and night. When help finally arrived, he was embarrassed to let them in – but it was at that moment that he realized he did need help.
With professional care support staff helping Sam, he recovered his old self confidence. His meals are prepared for him now; with better nutrition, he’s starting to look more like his old self. And now he’s rediscovered his old love of fashion, showing off his brand-name apparel to a welcoming community of workers and friends who can’t wait to see what he’s wearing now. Allan is strutting his stuff once again – all thanks to some timely professional help.
Dementia Care Case Study. The Lady Who Found Freedom in the Little Things
Not all dementia care clients are elderly or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Patricia was in her 50s when she was referred to us after suffering several strokes – one which occurred right at birth.
For most of her life, she’d lived with her parents; when they died, she went to live with her brother. He was soon overwhelmed by Patricia’s needs, to the point that his own mental health began to decline and he had to take anti-depressants. That’s when she was referred to us.
Patricia was developmentally challenged, but we soon realized that she had real potential that had never been cultivated. She was taught how to take her medications independently; soon after, we worked out a protocol for giving instructions she could follow to go out on her own and come back.
She has a newfound autonomy that she never had before in her life. She is loving it, enjoying outings, playing bingo and taking pride in the things that she can now do on her own. Meanwhile, her brother is off medication and their relationship is better than ever!