To honor Elsie, who battled Alzheimer’s, her daughter Lisa Stover started Presto Real Estate. Alongside Elsie, Lisa navigated the process of transitioning a loved one, and experienced first hand the challenges that often arise in the relocation process. Lisa created a system to help families through this challenging journey, now and in the future.
My story is like so many others, yet so uniquely mine. Like all diseases, you fight it at first, rejecting the diagnosis and believing it will be different for you and your family. Unlike many families, we did not wait too long before finding our mom a safer place to live. The worries of coffee pots and irons staying left on were enough incentive for us to convince her that a move was a good idea. Of course, there was resistance and accusations that we were forcing her to do something against her will. It was true .. we were. Luckily for us, her first stop to supportive living brought joy, activities, and folks to socialize with that were just like her. As we set up her new apartment with familiar pictures and items from home, she acted like a high school graduate going off to college and getting her place for the first time. We felt blessed and relieved that we didn’t have to worry anymore. This lasted 2+ years, and the disease remained status quo.
Overnight, something changed. The staff and doctors were not surprised. They all told us, “this is how the disease goes.” It is unpredictable but follows a relatively predictable pattern. Here we were, in a new place. After a hospital stay and a tumultuous few days in rehab/observation, we knew she was not going back to her apartment. I slept in a chair by her bed because I was the only one she would trust. My brother stepped in for my shower and sleep breaks, but this was not a long-term plan. With no money left to afford a more aesthetically pleasing environment and a private room, skilled nursing was going to be her new home. Again, once she stabilized and we set up her half of the room, she was okay – not great. Being completely ambulatory at this point, she was in a secure unit which meant locked in, and she knew it.
As the daughter of a strong-willed woman, nothing can stir more guilt than locking your mom up. There were days she would yell at me and days she did not want to see me at all. I would do her laundry every week; I would convince myself that this would preserve the color and keep her clothes looking their best. It was guilt, and I know now that it was okay. We all have to cope in our way with this thing.
Elsie lived there for over six years. She received loving care from nurses and CNA’s who will forever be my angels! They did things that I couldn’t. They understood the world she lived in, and they helped me come and go with confidence that she was in good hands. It was far from perfect, and I wasn’t always pleased with the management. Life is just like that… I am not always pleased about many things. I learned so much through the years of Alzheimer’s. I learned how to accept and how to be more patient with others and myself. I learned how to be grateful for small things and that there are angels among us.
On August 28, 2020, Elsie went home to be with Jesus. We lost her during the pandemic (not to COVID-19), but most certainly because of it. I believe her will left her as she could not see or hear her caregivers any longer. FaceTime was not a good replacement for our visits, and she never really connected with us again. We were again blessed that when she went on Hospice because there were no cases in her wing. We were able to be with her. The morning she left was peaceful and one of the most sacred days of my life. She held me on the day I came into this world, and I was privileged to hold her on the day she left.