Original posted Linkedin Jul 7, 201 - New edit
My 94 year-old father was, and still is, an amazing inspiration to us. Getting to that age without any medication and living independently (got his driver's license again this year), was not just good luck and good management, but likely also, good genetics. Nevertheless, when our mother died two years ago (she "ran the show"), we started to notice some mild cognitive decline, not enough to stop him going down to supper at the appropriate time in his Retirement Home, or to not remember where his local variety store was to obtain milk or eggs, but in little things....
Then he had his health crisis. Diverticulitis suddenly lead to a perforated bowel and the ICU in hospital. Emergency surgery, a heart attack, pneumonia, septicaemia, staph infection, critically low blood pressure and two rounds of C.difficile followed, but he stayed with us and three months later he walked out of there on his own two legs with a newly installed pacemaker, weighing 100 pounds (lost 20 in hospital) and carrying prescriptions for much needed medicine.
A success story - and you could say at his age especially - a medical miracle! However, we weren't over all the hurdles. When in hospital, we noticed a precipitous decline in his memory. Happily, he still knew all of us, but was unclear where he was at any time, on any day - town?....building?...why there or how long? It was alarming to us and he had no recollection of his apartment or his previous routine. Upon returning home, things started to "click". It seemed a lot of his memories were anchored in his belongings - his furniture, his room and other possessions, but it took time. Imagine how happy we were as creators of Memory M-AID® products to be able to help him out at this time - labelling drawers and cupboards throughout the apartment to facilitate his finding things. It may only be for a short while, or possibly longer, but never has the purpose and application of this product been more apparent to us.
The CCAC came to evaluate Dad's needs sending the Dietitian, the Physiotherapist and the Occupational Therapist - the latter to determine what physical supports, (grab bars etc.) may be put in place, or how to configure his space optimally. But what about the "grab bar" for the mind? The elderly are especially vulnerable upon returning home after long hospital stays, or relocating to a new environment. If we truly want them to maintain independence, we need also to think about memory supports. In this area, we are happy to be part of the solution.
Postscript: Two months post discharge from hospital, Dad continues to improve - physically (has gained 20 pounds) and cognitively and has resumed his independent living (with a little upgraded help from staff with meds). He has been an inspiration for the residents at his retirement home as one who went to ICU and returned home and....forget about trying to beat him at Shuffleboard, he is back in his element!