Today is World Alzheimer’s Day and most of us know someone, whether it is directly or indirectly that has suffered with this disease. Below is currently independent living resident Danny & Ineke’s touching story.
An early diagnosis of dementia initiated Danny and Ineke’s move to Elim. Danny wanted to move together and sooner than later, before the disease progressed. Timing was perfect; they were able to enjoy their new surroundings, reconnect with old friends and meet new neighbours. The spirit of community helped the denHoed’s prepare for what lay ahead and they were thankful Ineke would know Elim as her home long before dementia stole her ability to adapt.
As Ineke’s health declined, Danny naturally took on the role as her full time caregiver. Neighbours were quick to step in. With their support, Danny and Ineke continued to enjoy some activities they loved most. “The close knit community combined with services from Elim gave my dad much needed reprieve and allowed my parents to stay together in their home a while longer,” says daughter, Catherine.
Neighbours delivered meals and visited one on one with Ineke so Danny could work in the garden – his longtime passion. Ineke discovered a new favourite pastime of offering fish food to children who visited the pond. Time spent outdoors watching the children play was uplifting and Ineke became their go-to when visiting. So much so, one day they found a full container of fish food at their door. Thanks to the Facilities team, Ineke could continue enjoying her newfound hobby.
In one afternoon, everything changed. Danny suffered a serious heart attack that required surgery and a month long hospital stay.
Once again the Elim community and staff were quick to respond. Within hours, a plan was underway to ensure Ineke’s physical and emotional needs would continue to be met. The realization soon came that a move to full care was imminent for Ineke and shortly after, she moved to the Harrison.
Catherine remembers, “It was an answer to prayer for our dad to learn that mom could move into the Harrison and stay at Elim; that he only had to walk across the graveled path to be with her.”
“Our neighbors and Elim staff continue to be there for us every day,” Danny says. “We cannot really understand the impact and value of community until you experience this type of life changing hardship.”
“What I love about Elim is that we are all in the same boat; as an aging community, many of us face similar challenges and struggles. The Lord used this time for Ineke and I to let go of earthly things and to focus on each other. I think of an old hymn: That the things of earth will go strangely dim…in the light of His glory and grace.” Danny denHoed