The Alzheimer’s Association Weatherford Walk to End Alzheimer’s is coming up October 10, 2020. One of the many supporters with a personal story is Kay Crumley, a former Alzheimer’s caregiver turned support group facilitator.
“My mom had dementia and related issues, and I placed her in care in 2006. She passed in 2009,” says Crumley.
The progression of dementia in Crumley’s mother was tracked by noticing simple things becoming increasingly difficult.
“She began to not be able to remember things well, would forget she paid bills, pay them again, changed insurance companies because someone asked her to,” Crumley said. “She would get in the wrong car to come home. It just became a safety issue.”
Crumley was her mom’s primary caregiver at the time, but soon recognized that she was not going to be able to do it alone.
“I was still working full time and my mother had a friend who had been staying with her, but she had to go on vacation, so I took her to a nursing facility for respite care,” Crumley said. “When it was time to take her home, she wanted to stay, so she was in the facility sooner than anticipated.”
Crumley says it was hard being both daughter and caregiver.
“I had to come to grips with my being able to do the best I could do to give her the best care. I couldn’t really take her out, or care for her, working full time,” she said. “Putting her in the facility was the best I could do for her. You have to weigh out the what-ifs and come up with the one that works.”
Crumley’s mother stayed in a skilled nursing facility for about three to five months before moving into a memory care facility in Weatherford.
Crumley has advice for others who may be on a similar path with a loved one: “When you start noticing things, don’t argue with them. Just accept that it’s her memory, even though it may not be right. No point in correcting her. Take over as quickly as possible those things that are critical, like paying bills. Watch her driving. Keep an eye on safety. Is she still cooking, leaving burners on?”
Drawing on her experience as a retired educator as well as her recent experience with her own mother, Crumley volunteered when a call went out for Alzheimer’s support group facilitators in her area.
“When you see somebody understanding, and you feel like you’ve been able to get them through tough times, there’s an appreciation for what you’re doing. You can help someone over the spots you’ve been through, holding hands through the tough times.”
Crumley encourages people to call the Alzheimer’s 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900 or use alz.org/CRF to find the right virtual support group for them.