By Jack Rubinger, Home Instead Senior Care

Barbara Murphy was in full crisis mode on a Friday afternoon in the spring of 2012. Barbara was a trustee for her friend Sue, age 74, who was rapidly declining due to dementia. Sue’s husband was unable to cope with the situation. The race was on and Murphy needed a team to help put the wheels in motion to find a new place for her friend because home was no longer an option. 

Fortunately Murphy knew several individuals who had experience dealing with these types of crises – all members of Senior Resource Alliance of the Northwest (SRANW).  Barbara had noticed the beginning of the decline and had previously asked the SRANW geriatric case manager to give her an objective assessment of Sue’s condition.  The result was the knowledge that a move would need to happen sooner rather than later.  Barbara enlisted the assistance of the SRANW placement specialist and had visited several possible facilities that would accept Sue, her husband and her beloved dog.

“Even with that preparation, I wasn’t sure what to do first,” said Murphy.  Although Murphy, a Neil Kelly designer and builder is certified for aging in place, no one had prepared her for the roller coaster ride she was about to get on while taking care of her friend and the estate.

Her first call was to the care facility that seemed to be the best fit for Sue.  Miraculously, they had an opening early the following week.

Home Instead Senior Care stepped in to help both Sue and her husband stay in their home for the next few days until the space in the facility was available.  Kim Megorden from Kare Transitions helped with the layout of the new apartment and the selection of furniture and lots of knick knacks and other personal touches from the home Sue had lived in for more than 40 years. Having her own things around her made the transition so much easier for Sue.  Another SRANW resource, Willamette Movers, took care of the actual moving of the items.

“Everyone at SRNAW was wonderful,” said Barbara. “A real team effort.” 

After a wild day of packing, moving, unpacking and putting everything away, Sue settled in her new home.  “I didn’t think it would be possible to accomplish all of that in one day, but these people know what they are doing.  It was all about service with everybody on it,” said Murphy.

While Sue was a resident at The Pearl for 1½ years before she passed in late 2014, Murphy continued to handle her affairs with the assistance of the geriatric case manager from SRANW – in addition to holding down a busy job at Neil Kelly.  “I never could have done it without the help from SRANW.

When the time came to sell Sue’s home, it was SRANW to the rescue again.  “Barbara Bridges with Bridges Estate Sales got way more than I ever expected for the contents of Sue’s home, and they also arranged to have all of the left over items either donated to charity or simply hauled away.  I would have listed the house with another SRANW member, Deb Wilkinson, but a very dear friend of Sue’s is a realtor and also a neighbor, so I had to have her sell the house for me.”

The process with the estate is still going on, but the folks from SRANW got me through the worst of it – especially while Sue was alive.