Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
As most of you know, Lois has been struggling with cognitive decline for many years. We first began noticing struggles with language, gait, and cognitive processing 8-9 years ago. Initial testing told us a great deal about what wasn't wrong--not Alzheimers, nor strokes, brain tumors, seizures, etc. Eventually, an MRI revealed enlargement of the ventricles in her brain, which led to a diagnosis of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH). She had a shunt installed in her brain in June of 2013 to balance the cerebral fluid in her brain, and while this brought some stability, she has continued to decline over the years. The NPH diagnosis never quite fully explained her symptoms, and she has since been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia as well.
One of the benefits of Rose Villa, the retirement community Hans and Lois live in, is that their continuous-care model allows for assisted living services to be provided to residents in their own home. This has meant that Lois has been able to live with Hans in their independent cottage even as her needs have increased. We were fortunate to have outstanding caregivers who came daily this past year to allow Hans respite from caregiving duties as well as two full days a week for fishing. We are grateful that Lois was able to be home with Hans for so much time.
In late October, however, it became clear that Lois's needs required more than Hans and single caregivers could provide, and we were able to move her to the Memory Care unit at Rose Villa. There, she receives outstanding 24-hour care, while still being just one building away from Hans, who visits daily, and even has been able to bring her home for visits or meals. Around Thanksgiving, Lois's decline accelerated. She developed blood clots in both legs and began to have difficulty eating and swallowing. The limited ability she had to speak and comprehend language is now almost completely gone. These changes led us to arrange for hospice services to provide additional support in the final months of her life.
In the past week or so, she has begun to transition further, sleeping more and more, and eating and interacting less and less. The hospice nurse has told us we are likely in the last few weeks of her life. She is largely at peace, is in no pain, and is extremely well cared for. Hans and Karen are able to spend significant time with her, and we have each had special moments with her, even as her periods of lucidity become fewer and further between.
Because we know that so many of you love Lois and us, we have started this site to keep you up to date on the final weeks of her life, as well as plans for a celebration service after her death. We appreciate your prayers and words of comfort and remembrance. Thank you so much for your support.