When my husband was first diagnosed with early Alzheimer's disease, I knew that we would both need help, including medical help, practical help, emotional support, financial help, caregiving help and who knew what else. Since I had been a healthcare provider for over 45 years I was confident I could find the help we would need. I found an excellent neurologist and I consulted the Memory Disorder Clinic at Georgetown Hospital. I called the National Alzheimer's Association. I visited numerous programs in N. VA, DC, and nearby suburban MD. I found groups that would support me but not my husband. I found a few day care programs but their professional staff had minimal dementia training and their participants had more advanced disease. I spoke with home healthcare agencies that were willing to provide physical care which we did not need and again their caregivers had minimal training in early or mid-stage dementia. I could not find a cognitive rehabilitation specialist or a speech language pathologist who specialized in dementia. It was all disappointing. Millions of dollars was going to Alzheimer's research but where was the help for the thousands and thousands of us who were trying to navigate the confusing and difficult path ahead of us.
Then I found Insight Memory Care Center. They had programs not just for me but for the two of us together. They had staff with advanced training in dementia. They had regular and frequent and FREE talks by experts in so many different aspects of dementia. They wanted to evaluate my husband regularly to provide the appropriate level of stimulation and care. They were everything I had hoped to find and more. We spent the next seven years participating in their early stage, mid stage and later stage programs. They educated us, cared for us and were a rare bright spot in our long difficult journey.
Over the years I've watched Insight grow and evolve as needs were identified and addressed. Programs were frequently improved and new ones added. The leadership has been phenomenal at moving the organization forward while understanding that participant's well-being is always the first priority. But the job that Anita and the leadership team accomplished during the pandemic is perhaps the most telling. The center's doors had to be closed but the participants and their caregivers could not be abandoned. So program after program was quickly put into a virtual format. With Anita's guidance the center was able to re-open after three months for much needed in person care. The reopening was accomplished with all the health protocols in place and once again Insight was able to provide the personal engagement for the participants and the respite the caregivers so desperately needed.
Like so many others, I have continued to volunteer at Insight after my husband's death. I could never repay all that they gave us but I want to help where I can. It's not enough to just keep Insight going strong. It's not enough that they continue to be recognized with national awards. It's not enough to expand their programs in this local area. Every person everywhere with dementia deserves to receive the same level of excellent care demonstrated by Insight. Every caregiver everywhere deserves to experience the same love and support so generously given by the Insight staff. Insight needs to be the premier model for dementia care for every city, town, and county in this country.
Caregiver for husband Bob