Jineene and Karen find new hope in Senior Concerns’ Adult Day Program.
Everyone has a person they look up to. For Jineene, it has always been her mom, Karen.
When Jineene was just 7 years old, her step-father was in a car accident, leaving him paralyzed. Karen took care of him while also working full time as a teacher and raising her children. Although it was a constant struggle, Karen did everything to ensure Jineene and her siblings lived a normal life. In 2005, Jineene’s step father passed away. Just a few months after that, Jineene’s grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and Karen, ever the caregiver, moved her into their home to care for her.
In 2007, however, things began to change. Karen was still teaching and her principal started noticing some behavioral changes. Karen started to feel angry and threatened and didn’t understand why the principal was “picking on her.” Karen was eventually forced into early retirement and after a routine medical evaluation, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the young age of just 58.
“It was a shock for me and my family,” Jineene shared. “I was in denial. My mom seemed so normal. There was no way this could be true. But it was. My mom slowly started to lose her independence and it was very clear she was changing.”
At the age of 66, Karen’s disease had progressed to advanced Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and Lewy Body Dementia. Karen could no longer take care of herself. Jineene, following in her mother’s footsteps, became a caregiver while also raising two young children and holding down a full time job with The Cheesecake Factory’s corporate office.
“My mom became one of my children. I had to dress her, bathe her, assist her with the restroom and make sure someone was with her at all times,” Jineene shared. “I was doing my best to make sure everyone had what they needed, but it was exhausting. I was becoming stressed and tired. I needed help.”
Just as she was about to reach her breaking point, Jineene found Senior Concerns. Karen has been a participant in Senior Concerns’ Adult Day Program for about a year.
Since Karen started attending the Adult Day Program, Jineene has noticed a significant improvement in her mom’s overall mood and interactions with others due to the socialization and activities provided through the program. Karen has also experienced a reduction in her own stress.
“Not only has Senior Concerns provided loving care for my mom while I’m at work, it has also rejuvenated my spirit and attitude towards my mom and her disease,” Jineene shared. “When I pull into the parking lot at Senior Concerns, my mom’s face lights up and that makes me smile. I know my mom is well cared for and loved. Senior Concerns has been an answer to my prayers.”