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We Could Have Lost Her

We all hear of caregiving stories that are scary. These near-miss stories are especially stressful when they happen during the holidays and winter months when it’s cold and hard to get around.

Here’s one that just happened to two brothers I know – Mitch and Lew.

Their mother – Gina – is 91-years old with dementia that appears to be advancing.

Long Distance Stress

The oldest son, Mitch, lives in Illinois and checks in on his Mom long-distance since she lives upstate in New York. It’s especially snowy there right now and Gina’s younger son, Lew, lives in the house next door to her. Lew checks in on her every day, being right next door.

It all seemed to be working out well – until a few weeks ago. Here’s Mitch’s story:

Mitch calls his Mom every day at 8:30 in the morning and every evening at 7:00 PM to check in on her. It was especially important this weekend as Lew had planned a family overnight ski trip and would be out of town.

It was Saturday morning and Mitch called Gina as scheduled. He let the phone ring 10 times and there was no answer. Was she in the bathroom? Had she possibly been taken out to breakfast by one of her friends?

Mitch always wondered about his Mom when she didn’t answer. She lives so far away.

snow winter houseOn this particular Saturday, Mitch waited 10 minutes and then called again. After the sixth ring, Gina answered with a gasping voice. She sounded like she was not breathing well –

“Help me! Help me!” said his Mom.

Gina never said, “Hello”. She had no idea who was calling.

Mitch immediately hung up and called his brother Lew to see where he was and if by chance, he had left any of the neighbors in charge since he’d be away.

Who’s Close Enough to Help?

Lew was about an hour away. He and his family were headed back from their ski trip early – the snow was too slushy. Unfortunately, he wasn’t close enough to help.

Read the rest here.