Joy VanLeur

First post: Mar 19, 2022 Latest post: Sep 23, 2022
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My mom was involved in a one-person motorcycle accident back on June 13th, 2021. She spent 111 days in the hospital recovering from her injuries, which were extensive. The worst is a traumatic brain injury that has resulted in what the doctors have called "trauma-induced dementia."

Mom came to stay with us on October 16, 2021. We have cared for her essentially 24-7 since that time. My son has taken on watching her Sunday evening through Thursday afternoon and then we pay for a nurse to come Thursday nights, Fridays, and sometimes weekends. Her physical recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. All her broken bones have healed and she can walk around short distances with no walker most days.

 The mental health side has been the most challenging. Mom really only exists with clarity and vibrancy when she is in the past. She can talk for hours about her life in her 20s. Asking her to be in the here and now is another story.

Most days mom doesn't know what day it is, where she is, and who her family is. We've dealt with serious mood swings, suicidal threats, physical violence, screaming, crying, and even escape!

A few days ago, my mom got her coat on and left our home at 5 am while it was below zero outside and walked half a mile to a local 7-11 only to ask complete strangers to take her to the beach or to her "real daughter's " house. The police were called. It was awful.

We've come to the hard and agonizing decision to try memory care. I have struggled with this decision as it's been my goal to care for her in this situation, but we are not physically or emotionally equipped for this level of attention and care. Her fits are becoming more frequent and her confusion more prominent. The stress on us all is something I don't think we could have ever prepared for. Enduring this ongoing situation for months has left us all depleted, unhappy, and barely treading water.

We've chosen a facility in Littleton, CO called Willowbrook. It's come highly recommended by other professionals in elder care and I have toured and been in contact with the staff for about a month. I feel comfortable as I can at this point to make an informed decision. 

We plan to make the move on the 19th of March. Once we get her settled I encourage visits, calls, and correspondence. She is a social being and will need this to continue. Willowbrook has made it clear that she can leave the facility with friends and family to enjoy outings and social events which makes me very happy. I encourage this and hope to keep this going unless it causes her too much dysregulation or her getting upset, but I'm hopeful that this is a good thing for her. We plan to continue to take her to church at least 2x a month (Jason serves at our church 2x a month so we won't always be able to take her) so if there's anyone in the Littleton area that is willing to take her to church when we can't, it would be sooo appreciated!!!! I'll also plan for a weekly visit and so will her grandkids. We all really do need you to continue to write her (big print), call her (you can call Willowbrook's mainline and ask for room 106),  and visit her.

I'll do my absolute best to leave updates here for you all to check-in. You are free to reach me via text at 720-532-3093 but know that answering everyone individually is a challenge, which is why I made this site! :)

Thank you all.

Amanda, Jason, and family. ❤