Written by Francis LeGasse Jr., Co-Founder of Sevens Home Care

Over the last several weeks I have struggled to find an answer to this question.  My reasoning for being so engulfed by this question comes because of the passing of my grandfather, Alton.  My grandfather, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2009, passed away on October 30th, 2011 at the age of 85 from ailments associated with a terrible fall he took on September 2nd, 2011.  The fall broke two vertebrae in his upper back which left him with little to no movement in his arms or legs. The surgery to correct the fractures took an astounding 11 hours.  The surgeon had to make corrections from both the front and back side.  My initial hopes and prayers were to ensure that my grandfather would make it out of surgery.  I didn’t want my grandmother or my mother to have this as the final memory of their husband and father.

After the initial shock of the news wore off I grew angry.  I was angry at what occurred.  I knew this fall could have been prevented or at least reduced in its severity if my grandfather had home care.  I stressed for months prior to the fall for my grandfather to bring in a personal care agency to assist with his daily needs.  My grandfather’s response to this request was that his wife, my grandmother, would handle anything that he needed.  Indeed she did handle everything he needed but at a great cost to her personal freedom.  My grandmother stopped being his wife and became his caregiver.  This is something that no family member should have to go through.

On one of my trips back home I stressed to my mother and grandmother that help need to be brought in.  The level of care my grandfather needed was beyond the scope of my grandmother.  My grandfather needed help bathing and going to the bathroom.  He also needed a caregiver for assistance and support moving with his walker.  After a lengthy discussion with my mom and grandma I told my mom to investigate care options and bring them in to speak with the family.  My mom agreed and began to make calls to local home care agencies.  This was a great first step but as you will find out in tomorrow’s blog, it was the resistance that ultimately ended in the shortening and difficult passing of my grandfather.