Connie*, a member of Lifespark COMPLETETM, lives on her own with the help of her Lifespark team and her adult daughter, Heather, who lives in Nashville but visits as often as possible. “Heather is a great example of how family involvement—even from afar—can make such a difference in the lives of our clients,” said Dana Bushway, RN, Lifespark Life Manager, who began working with Connie in 2021.
Adapting to changes
This past September, when Connie needed knee replacement surgery, followed by a stay in transitional care, Dana and Heather were in close communication to plan for her discharge. Heather moved in with her mother for six weeks, while Dana continued to check in every few weeks. “Heather kept me in the loop the entire time, updating me on Connie’s rehabilitation and any new concerns,” Dana said. One of those concerns was cognitive decline and memory problems.
Before her surgery, Connie had been managing her own medications, but in October, Dana noticed that her meds weren’t set up properly. “She wasn’t sure whether she’d taken her pills that day, and when I asked her if she’d picked up her new prescription for hypertension, she couldn’t remember,” Dana said. “I was very concerned, especially because of the risks of untreated high blood pressure.”
Dana stepped up her visits to once and often twice a week. She’d stop by to set up her meds, check her blood pressure, and make sure she was safe. After every visit, she would let Heather know how her mom was doing.
Once Connie’s blood pressure had been stable for several weeks, Dana felt comfortable reducing her visits to every other week and shifting the focus to her goals, not just her health. “Except when Heather comes to town, Connie is alone a lot of the time, so one of her goals is to meet her former coworkers for lunch, and another is to go to Little Six Casino,” Dana said. Fortunately, Connie has a two-year-old golden retriever, Lucy, who is her constant companion.
Planning for what’s next
According to Dana, Connie is adamant about not wanting to move out of her home. “I completely understand, but at some point, it just won’t be safe for her to live on her own,” she said, adding that Heather talks with her mother every day and monitors her comings and goings via cameras she installed at the front and back doors and inside the home.
“Heather and I are talking about next steps, which probably will be private-pay Home Care, but eventually, she may need to move into long-term care, here in the Twin Cities or down in Nashville where she could be closer to her daughter,” Dana said.
For right now, they’re monitoring Connie’s situation, and when the time comes for a change, Dana has complete confidence in Heather’s communication and responsiveness. “It really feels like we’re a team,” she said.
*Name has been changed to protect client privacy.