When I first met Max she was widowed and had been living alone in her home for over 20 years. She was quietly afflicted with an extreme case of dementia. Adult Protective Services became involved and referred her to LifeSpan Guardianship.
As is typical of individuals with her condition, Max was suspicious of strangers. Since her short-term memory was fading, everyone was a stranger. She wouldn’t allow anyone into her home, and would often turn them away at the door. This was detrimental to her quality of life as Max struggled with all areas of daily living. She was no longer capable of properly storing, preparing or cooking her own food.
Often times her utilities were shut off due to an inability to maintain a checkbook and pay her bills on time. Her laundry was in the basement of her home where black mold was present. She had a persistent cough and wheeze, likely due to the presence of mold, that she insisted was due to seasonal allergies. Most unfortunately, she refused to see a doctor and had not been to visit a primary care physician in over a decade.
Max and I’s friendship grew slowly. She was suspicious of me at first, but over time I was able to gain her trust. We bonded over our family history and learned that both our families’ originated from Jackson County, Kentucky. I quickly learned that Maxilee was not only tremendously sweet and friendly, but she also had a fantastic sense of humor. I became committed to the idea that given the opportunity to socialize she would blossom.
I have never been so pleased to be right. After many trials and tribulations, Maxilee is now a very happy, healthy and socially engaged resident at Bickford Senior Living. She currently sees a physician every month and is medically stabilized. Her wheezing has dissipated and she now takes a daily medication to improve her memory and cognition. She says that she finds great joy in assisting the staff with meal preparations and service. Max will never again have to worry about finances as all of her bills are now paid on time.
Max has now made so many friends she rarely spends a moment alone. You will most often find her walking the halls with a friend or chatting and laughing with another in the family room. She even hosts sleepovers and tells staff how much she enjoys ‘taking care of’ other residents. She is an absolute social butterfly. Maxilee has a renewed sense of community and purpose in her life, and I am honored to have her in mine.
Guardians are court appointed by the Probate Court and have a dramatic impact on the quality of life of our community’s most vulnerable residents who have no family member able or willing to look out for them. In addition to the LifeSpan’s staff Guardians, trained volunteer guardians play a critical role in the success of this program. Every year the need grows for more compassionate, committed volunteer guardians.