A Personal Story: Beckie Weaver on Unexpected Transitions
Some of the most significant transitions in life often do not come when we expect them to. They seem so distant from our current situation that we fail to be prepared if a transition like finding care for a family member quickly falls upon us.
Cariloop spent time walking the streets of Dallas asking passersby what they knew about assisted living and what their preference was when it came to caring for aging loved ones. The overwhelming majority of respondents knew very little about assisted living communities and admitted they would rather take care of their aging loved ones themselves.
Beckie Weaver, speech pathologist and dean of the College of Allied Health at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., experienced an unexpected transition process when doctors diagnosed her father with rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s disease.
“In a year he progressed through about 10 years of typical Alzheimer’s progression,” Weaver said. “He went from September of one year still being able to drive his own car to the following September he fell and couldn’t even figure out how to get up. We were shocked by that.”
With her father’s Alzheimer’s disease quickly progressing, she was forced to ask a lot of questions about how to best care for her aging parents.
“After the diagnosis it became very apparent that my mom, who was living 450 miles away in Corsicana, Texas, could not care for my dad alone; and that the relatives in town could not provide what she needed,” Weaver said.
With very limited resources in Corsicana and local family members being unable to provide the support their parents needed, Weaver and her family decided the best plan of action was to move them over 400 miles from Corsicana, Texas to Searcy, Ark.
Weaver found one of the only assisted living facilities in town and quickly transitioned her parents into the facility. Her father passed away within a year of the move, but her mother remained at the facility for another 10 years with dwindling finances. It was with stressed finances that Weaver and her husband decided to move her mother into their own home. With that move came many caring transitions for Weaver and her mother alike.
“We are now taking her to all of her doctor’s appointments, taking her when she needs to go to the store, taking her to church—anything she wants to go to now—we provide the transportation,” Weaver said.
Weaver is content with caring for her mother as of now, but she recognizes the possibility of her mother needing professional long-term care later on. Weaver sees Cariloop as a great tool for those who are unprepared to face the questions that come with finding long-term care.
“My dad’s last two weeks of his life he actually had a series of strokes,” Weaver said. “It became very evident that if he survived the next four or five days, he was going to need some long-term care. At that point in time, all that my mother knew to do was talk to the people in her Alzheimer’s support group and she physically drove an hour away to look at a care facility they suggested.”
The overwhelming stress and time commitment that is evident in Weaver’s story is the reality for so many caregivers in America today. Cariloop’s healthcare coaches are working hard to ensure that caregivers like Weaver and her mother have the support they need and deserve.