What people are saying. . .
“My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the fall of 2010. We were given a diagnosis, a follow-up appointment in six months, some prescriptions, and sent on our way. For the next two years, our family did the best we could to keep Mom living at home with Dad, which is what they both wanted. There were good days and bad, but things took a turn for the worse in the fall of 2012. My Mom began not recognizing my Dad at night and becoming agitated and sometimes even violent towards him. In addition, she began wandering late at night. She was determined to go “home” (in her mind “home” was her childhood home in Pine Point, not the home she and my Dad had lived in for over forty-five years). At this point, my family became seriously concerned for the safety of both of our parents.
I heard about A Place to Start and called Sally. She met with me at my house, listened with compassion, and supplied me with many resources to call on to assist my parents. It was so incredibly helpful to meet with someone who had been where I was, who understood the heartbreak and uncertainty facing our family, and who had practical suggestions to help my parents. Unfortunately, soon after my initial meeting with Sally, we found ourselves in a position where we had to find immediate placement for my Mom. I didn’t know where to begin, so once again I called Sally. She offered to assist us in finding out which facilities in the area could accommodate my Mom immediately and set up an appointment for us with our first choice.
Sally was with us every step of the way, from our initial meeting with the people at the facility to following-up with us after we got my Mom moved in and settled. I don’t know what my family would have done without Sally’s help in finding placement for my Mom. Over the past year, A Place to Start has been an incredibly valuable asset to my family in navigating my Mom’s disease. I can’t imagine where we would be without the support and guidance they provided.”
“A Place to Start saved our sanity, advising our family about my mother-in-law, whose hospitalization after a second broken hip required us to rethink how best to go forward with her deepening Parkinson’s dementia: how could we make it work better if she returned home to her 93 year old husband and live-in-caregiver? How could we make it work for everyone if she were to enter a cognitive care facility? How to help all the many family members cope with her now and as her disease progresses. How to become better caregivers and visitors. How best to understand her, her disease, and very importantly how to deal with her behavior, statements and questions.
A Place to Start provided this advice and practical tips very quickly and with compassion (by e-mail, since my in-laws live in Israel), in the real-time demanded by our difficulties in caring for her, with compassion based on deep personal experience and knowledge (A Place to Start sent many great articles to read), supplemented by advice on specialized questions from their deep network of professionals working with dementia.
A Place to Start provided a lifeline to us during crisis and compassionately pointed out a way forward in which all of us — my still wonderful demented mother-in-law and her family (loving but inexperienced, stressed and confused) to remain positive, find peace, acceptance, and even joy and humor in dealing with the dreadful disease of dementia.”
“A Place To Start is an invaluable service available to caregivers. My husband was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2011. Navigating the system alone was painful, confusing and overwhelming. When I started working with Sally at A Place To Start, I felt immediate relief. She is knowledgeable about the disease and the resources in Southern Maine. She is someone who “has been there”, drawing on that experience yet valuing the individual differences of each person’s situation. Sally’s willingness to help me, in whatever way I want, has made me feel like someone is watching out for me. I know that I can contact her as my husband’s disease progresses and I am faced with new challenges.”
“I first met Sally, Mary and Kate when their Mom, Connie, was a resident in our Independent neighborhood at Huntington Common. My first impression was that each sister was individually a great advocate for their Mom. At times, even if their opinion differed, they always united over what was best for their Mom.
Over the years as Connie’s dementia progressed, she transitioned to our Assisted Living & eventually the Reminiscence neighborhood. They navigated through feelings of loss, doubt, sadness and guilt. But, they never gave up.
They were able to partner with us to give Connie a quality of life, to have meaningful and engaging visits and find joy by joining her journey and being “in the moment” with their Mom.
Their personal journey with this disease has given them invaluable knowledge and I look forward to watching them serve other families.”
Assistant Executive Director