Resident Kathy shares her Silverado story!
"There is an old saying - 'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.' Well, when I retired from teaching special education, one of the things I most looked forward to was being able to visit my daughter, son-in-law and grandsons in Los Angeles any time that I wanted to - not just on school vacations! Little did I know that someday one of those trips would not be for pleasure, but to save my life.
In March of 2017, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. I began various therapies - speech, PT, OT - all in an attempt to manage my symptoms. I walked daily with my friend Diane. Some people walk their dogs? Diane would walk me. I was in very good shape. And thank goodness because it helped set me up for success when my health took a sudden turn for the worse.
I had a series of health set backs beginning in November of 2017 that took me in and out of hospitals and rehab centers. The time in the hospital weakened my muscles and I lost the ability to walk. At this time, I also began to experience memory issues and anxiety. The rehab team at my facility was not trained to deal with our community. They were trained to deal with joint replacement patients and those recovering from strokes. They did not know how to deal with memory care patients and our unique concerns. I would make progress only to experience a set-back. This continued for months. My physical condition worsened. I gradually stopped eating. My cognitive health continued to decline. My daughter diligently searched for a facility in CT that could address all of my needs but was not successful.
In late February, it was clear that my condition was becoming grave. I was completely wheelchair bound, was not talking and was extremely depressed. It was then that my son-in-law, along with a caregiver from Silverado At Home, flew with me from CT to Los Angeles and I began my life as a Silverado resident.
Unfortunately, I had a major fall within a couple of weeks of arriving at Silverado. I had not been walking for months but I attempted to get out of bed and fell and hit my head. My mind was willing itself to walk even when my body wasn't quite ready yet.
I spent 4 days in the ICU at Cedars and 10 days in the hospital. I was released on Hospice and my family was told to keep me comfortable. I was not expected to eat again, or walk or regain my cognitive functioning. This was in early April. As you can see, I have done all 3!
I regained my ability to swallow within a couple of weeks of returning to Silverado and was eating all textures of food within one month. I began my PT and OT almost immediately with this amazing team of professionals. These dedicated and talented women and men know how to work with our community. They understand our specific needs and concerns. They set small, reasonable goals for me but never underestimated my ability to achieve my ultimate goal - walking.
It was a process - from a high back wheelchair, to a wheelchair, to assist to a chair, to walking with a walker to walking independently to being able to climb stairs! All since April.
The team involved my family but also allowed me to become independent and take ownership of my progress. And no matter how difficult a session might get, they were always there to make me smile or to encourage me to keep going.
It is because of these wonderful therapists, Chi, Kelly, Scott and especially Maureen who has been with me from the very beginning and spearheaded my entire program, and Lisa, who has been by my side from wheelchair to walking independently, that I was able to achieve my second goal of moving to the Loft.
As my mobility increased and my appetite returned, my cognitive health also improved. I became eligible to move to the Loft but needed to be able to move around independently. It became our focus to work on the skills I would need to live on the third floor and be safe. The work that they did with me, along with the support provided by Jason, Rosemary, Jean and all of the staff has allowed me to make the move. I love being a part of the Loft community and have found that my mobility continues to improve in this more independent setting.
Although I have now graduated, I still see Lisa twice a week for tune-ups! I'm not stopping until I can get through a Zumba class. You are stuck with me! Thank you for never giving up on me, even when I had given up on myself. You are all very special people and Silverado is a better place because of you.