Soon after Mother died, my dad developed dementia. Realizing Dad needed round-the-clock care himself, I moved to the ranch where he lived in a remote mountain valley of Wyoming to become his full-time caregiver. It took more than two years of constant attention to keep Dad safe and content. When finally, his dementia worsened to the point that Dad didn’t really know where he was, one night my brother Scott and I packed him into the car so we could go up to the cemetery and visit Mother’s grave. We took the long route, ending-up after 10 hours on the road, permanently in Fort Collins where we moved him into Scott’s empty condominium.
Because Dad could present well long enough to pass any brief assessment, efforts to get elder-care services and medical programs to help out such as assisted living facilities, Medicare, and hospice, were all denied. He was too functional. With no alternatives, I continued to be his primary caregiver. When Dad fell and had to be hospitalized, the need for someone to advocate for him became a priority. After being hospitalized, he qualified for services in the Poudre Valley Health System. With these services came another benefit: advocacy! A Godsend. When Dad returned to the condominium, he qualified for about three hours of Medicare home health care five days a week. Home health also helped get him on hospice care during the last months of his life. At last, we relaxed and just found a peaceful comfort in the final stages of dementia. We had wonderful help, thanks to the Larimer County’s community resources.