Jan 29, 2019 Latest post:
Aug 15, 2020
Those of you who know and love my mom Betsie know she was a devoted military spouse of 28 years, a beloved elementary school music teacher in the Glendale, AZ community for many years, a Young Life leader and mentor to high schoolers, a Mother of 3 children, and a Nana to my 3 children. I'm sharing her story with you because I receive an overwhelming amount of interest in her health, her care, and generally how she is doing. She is so well loved.
To catch you up to speed, we began noticing changes in her behavior and personality shortly after my parents' divorce in 2013. At first doctors assumed it was depression, which would make sense given her life circumstances. But over time we noticed her forgetfulness growing in severity; she had to step down from her long-term career teaching elementary school music because she struggled to learn a new data entry process, she began leaving her front door wide open all night, was unable to follow directions cooking stovetop Mac n Cheese, and the list goes on. At one point she got lost in Phoenix for over 4 hours driving in the city, unable to remember how to use her phone to call for help. It was then that we decided to sell her house and she went to live with her sister Kathy in Alabama. During the year she was there she saw a neurologist who, after observing her worsening symptoms over time, ultimately diagnosed her with Early Onset Alzheimer's disease. It was a devastating diagnosis, but we were also glad to have the backing we would need to get her long term support services and have an answer after months and months of worry.
She moved back to Arizona in 2017 and lived in assisted living for one year. During that time I worked with an elder care lawyer to make a plan for her future. We came to realize that she did not have the finances to stay in assisted living long term. My husband Mike and I sold our house, I quit my job, and my mom moved in with us along with my younger brother, Gavin. I am now my mother's primary caregiver in addition to raising our 3 children and attending graduate school for Marriage and Family Therapy. Gavin works full time, but is able to help on his off days. This season has been the most challenging we have ever faced as a family.
My mother is very kind and lovable, so she has many people who check in with me frequently. I created this site for those of you who would like more regular updates on the progression of her disease, her care, and most of all her spirits. I will upload photos, videos and stories here for you over the comings months and years.
Many of you ask about our plan for the future, and as it stands, we are unsure. We are waiting to qualify for Arizona Long Term Care, which could take up to 3-5 years for financial reasons; upon qualifying she will likely move back to assisted living as it will be fully covered by state insurance. Up until she qualifies, she will likely live with us.
Many of you also ask how you can support us as a family. I've linked our GoFundMe campaign specifically to fund her respite care. Our caregivers bathe her, feed her, do her laundry and clean her living space, all while giving us the freedom to spend time with our kids, run errands, and take a weekend away. We are humbled and grateful for financial support, but most of all we ask for your prayers for our family. We could not do this without you or without the strength God supplies for us daily.
Thank you for loving my mom and checking in on her! We are believing her best years are still to come.