At 103, Dorothy still gets around, which is not always a good thing. A year ago she was residing in an assisted living facility when she wandered outside and got lost.
Dorothy suffers from dementia, among other ailments. Her daughter Phyllis, who was managing a building in the complex, was told that her mother was no longer suitable to stay there. So Phyllis quit work, moved herself and her mother into one apartment, and began attending to her personal care needs 24/7. They sleep in the same room so Phyllis can monitor her mother’s movements during the night.
“Some days she does just fine,” Phyllis said, “but other days she still wants to wander.”
Dorothy was born in 1910 in downstate Illinois. After her father died, the family left their farm and moved into town. She later moved to St. Louis to find office work and there met her husband. Together they had five children. Subsequent moves took them to Minnesota, Arizona and Tennessee, before relocating to Indianapolis.
“Dad kept falling, so eventually he had to go to a nursing home. Mom moved to assisted living for what we thought would be a short stay. But we soon realized it was better for her to be mixing with people than isolated. She had a wonderful 10 years there before her wandering episode,” Phyllis said.
Phyllis learned of CICOA shortly after her mom moved in with her. CICOA provides eight hours of respite care each week, which gives Phyllis freedom to run errands, have lunch with a friend, or bike or hike in a nearby park. Additionally, Phyllis uses private pay so she can do “extra things” like attend church or other activities.
“I can’t say it hasn’t been hard, because I had to drop everything,” Phyllis said. “But I’m so, so grateful to CICOA for the help they provide.”