Jewell always told her family she wanted to die at home. Her family promised her that she would not have to worry about that; they would take care of her at home as she aged.
When the promise was made, her children had no idea she would develop dementia at the age of 60 and have a massive stroke, leaving her left side paralyzed. That same year, the family also lost their dad, Jewell’s husband of 30 years.
Jewell now needed 24/7 care, and it was extremely important to her children—Erika, Mick and Rick—to honor their mom’s wishes, although they were overwhelmed by the prospect. A hospital social worker introduced them to CICOA and waiver services as an option to support Jewell in her home for as long as possible.
The family reached out to CICOA and began services shortly after the first stroke, which allowed Jewell to remain in her family home with her beloved dog, Ginger. CICOA provided in-home care to cover the family’s work schedule and additional respite hours to lessen the burden of Jewell’s 24/7 care.
Scheduling was one of the biggest challenges to coordinate between family members and formal care. Thankfully, the family was blessed with a loving, dependable, and caring certified nurse assistant, Latoya, who cared for Jewell for 11 years. Previously, Erika was the only one who could bathe Jewell, which was a taxing job for one person.
“Latoya came in and was able to do everything I did and more,” Erika explained. “We could not have done it without her help.”
Working together with the formal support of CICOA and the informal care of the family, a reliable schedule was created, and everyone did their part. Jewell’s kids, their spouses, grandchildren, and friends all chipped in. Though they faced stress, sleepless nights and were torn by the competing demands of work, family and other obligations, in the end, they agreed it was worth it.
On March 17, 2020, Jewell suffered a heart attack and passed away in the comfort of her home, surrounded by loved ones. Her family truly believes that by allowing their mother to stay at home, her life was greatly extended. Even after health complications changed Jewell’s quality of life, she was still able to enjoy many things—birthday celebrations, holiday dinners, family get-togethers, and visits from family and friends. These special events gave Jewell something to look forward to and created purpose in her life.
“The gratification of knowing our mother was cared for until her dying day is beyond anything imaginable,” Erika said.
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