I walked into work like it was any other day. Sat down at my desk, began working on my case notes and began checking in with my families. By the 4th cup of coffee, I was well on my way to a productive day. You see, as a case manager, it is so very important to stay on top of documentation and to be quick and efficient in doing so. However, it is also important to not get caught up in every small detail, you have to find the correct balance.
By cup of coffee number five, I was onto check-in with families via weekly phone calls. The first few calls went as per usual, thankfully uneventful. However, the next call was something else entirely.
My fingers dialed a number I had been dialing for years. I was calling Genevieve and her family. The phone rang twice and then her husband Herb picks up and with heavy breathing, somehow musters the words “Hello, this is Herb”…… Just then I knew something wasn’t right.
Before I go on, here is a little bit about Genevieve. She actually preferred to go by “Gen”. Gen was a nurse starting in the 1930’s when nurses had to sharpen their own needles and instruments were sterilized by boiling items in water. She served as an Army nurse and was present during Pearl Harbor, which is where she met her beloved Herb. After the war, Gen and Herb settled in Wyoming and raised a family. Gen continued to work as a nurse for the VA health care system until she retired at the age of 72.
At the age of 75 Gen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Dementia and from that point, the world Gen and Herb knew, shifted. It was equally gratifying just…. Different. Gen had always been Herb’s nurturer. Now it was Herb’s job to take care of Gen. The progression of Gen’s disease first came on slow. Forgetting small things, routes to places they had traveled for years. Names of lifelong friends, recipes of her famous chocolate chip cookies…… but then, it turned into waking in the middle of the night thinking it was day time (aka sun downing), she even tried driving the car out of the garage but forgot to put the garage door up. It was not a safe situation. Something had to be done.
Back to the call….. “Hi Herb, what’s going on?” I asked. What he told me next caused a cocktail of thoughts and emotions. Herb explained that he had forgotten to lock the door and set the alarm before bed. Gen had gotten up in the middle of the night, walked out the front door and down to the retention pond at the end of their road, about 4 or 5 blocks. Luckily for Herb, he woke up and noticed she was not in bed. Another lucky thing, Herb had invested in a product called Angel Sense for Gen to wear any time she was alone for a few moments or they were sleeping. You see, Angel Sense is a wearable GPS tracking device that allows a guardian to track an individual’s location and can even allow a guardian to listen into noise of the device wearer.
Upon noticing Gen was missing, Herb pulled out his iPhone and checked to see where Gen was on the Angel Sense app. That is when he discovered she was at the retention pond. If it wasn’t for Angel Sense, who knows what could have happened.
The point is, life is not perfect, and things happened. However, if we love our loved ones and want what is best for them, why not offer something that can help ensure their safety and security. What more than peace of mind can you ask for?
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