April 15, 2016 – evening
There is a new administrator at the Village of Victory Lakes where my dad is a resident. Her name is Jeanne Heid-Grubman and she has been in her position there for about two months. During that time she’s come to know my mom a bit and has introduced herself. She seen Mom confused and tearful a few times. When Mom recently told Jeanne that I was coming to visit, Jeanne suggested that we meet together.
I met Jeanne yesterday. She gave me her card and suggested we have a visit. I said I would call to set up an appointment. Mom is curious as to why Jeanne wants to speak with us. I had my hunch…and my hope. Both were confirmed when I spoke with her on the phone privately this afternoon.
Jeanne shared that in the time she has known my mom she has noticed symptoms of dementia. Her own mother had Alzheimer’s and Jeanne has worked in the field for many years. “It’s my passion,” she said. I brought her up to date on how we’ve been “managing things” over the past year and told her that Mom has an annual exam next Wed. April 20 with her new primary care physician. I explained that I’ve sent the new doctor some confidential correspondence concerning Mom’s occasional confusion and her short-term memory loss…and that I requested further assessment.
Mom’s doctor visit will be at 9:30 a.m. next Wed. We have our chat with Jeanne at 2:30 that same day…and Jeanne plans to visit with Mom about what she is experiencing and how she is feeling. She will try to help her understand what is happening to her … and the options available. I told Jeanne we had talked about options which include relocating them to Missouri, but for now, Mom wants to stay where she is, although she thinks she’ll lose her driving privilege this year. Jeanne understands that obtaining a diagnosis is important for me to have and said it should not be difficult. Her own mother was in complete denial after her diagnosis.
I have no idea how next week will play out…if Mom will cooperate with having further testing…how she will react to Jeanne having a discussion not only about Dad, but about her as well. I feel a bit of relief. A key administrator truly knows what is happening, has walked the walk, has worked for many years in the field, and is willing to assist as we continue on this difficult and heart-wrenching journey.
When I researched Jeanne, I found this summary of her background:
Jeanne Heid-Grubman comes to The Admiral at the Lake with over 30 years of experience serving the growing population of older adults. She is the health services administrator for the community. Before joining The Admiral at the Lake, Jeanne worked as healthcare administrator for The Holmstad in Batavia. She has also worked as director of education and outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago and as director of dementia services for The Wealshire in Lincolnshire. She currently serves on the board for the Pioneer Network, a group working towards a culture of aging that supports the care of elders where individual voices are heard and respected. Jeanne has contributed to numerous health and wellness publications and is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she received her master’s degree in social service administration.