The Right Fit for Mom, Then Herself

February 24, 2021

Touched by her mother’s care, associate joins loving community


When her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Pam Fain knew what to expect.  After all, caring for older people was her passion. Pam had worked in nursing homes, assisted living and memory care communities most of her adult life. 

Pam left the workforce to care for her mother, who moved in with Pam and her family. As the symptoms of Alzheimer’s progressed, Pam recognized when it was time for her mother to be in a setting better able to manage her needs, keep her safe and provide the activities to promote the highest quality of life possible.

So, Pam began her mission to find the right fit for her mother, Leola.

Academy Point at Mystic
Adult daughter and senior mother posing for picture wearing Holiday attirePam knew Leola would never be content to sit quietly in front of a TV, so she needed to find a community that could match her mom’s need for activity and personal connection.

As Pam looked around at various communities, she came to visit Academy Point at Mystic’s Mind and Memory program and their memory care neighborhood, The Harbor. The first thing she noticed was how the staff immediately took an interest in Leola as a person. She realized quickly that this was an environment that would both help her mom feel safe and loved, as well as feel purposefully engaged during her day.

The town of Mystic also made sense, as Leola had raised her family in Mystic.  Leola’s husband even went to school in the building that is now Academy Point at Mystic.

A Transition Plan
Pam knew her mom was comfortable living with her and her family. How would Pam ever convince Leola to make a move?

Well, Academy Point at Mystic had a plan.

Every morning, for about two weeks, Leola was invited to join the residents and take part in activities and conversation.  Pam brought Leola over to Academy Point – and told her she’d be back after running just a few errands. In the afternoon, she’d meet Leola in the common area to take her home, asking how she spent her day. 

Soon, Leola became familiar with staff, with the routine, with her new friends – and felt the love of the Academy Point Harbor. 

A morning came when Pam brought Leola for her usual visit, but this time packed an overnight bag, as she had an invitation to spend the night with her new friends.  Importantly, Pam reminded Leola that she’d be back in the morning.

It was the beginning of a loving relationship with Academy Point.

Well, for two years, the staff at Academy Point at Mystic’s Harbor loved Leola and kept her busy with small helpful tasks like setting the table and folding the laundry.  Leola loved feeling productive.  Sometimes she was so productive that she’d follow the staff as they went around doing their nightly turndown service. She’d even remake the beds behind them!

Pam had been observing the loving and homey culture at Academy Point – listening and watching as the staff cared for both her mom and other residents.  She was touched by the way associates spoke of and reminisced about residents as if they were their own family. The housekeepers would take extra time and care with the residents, sitting down and chatting, joking, hugging – just like family.

Pam joins the Academy Point team
Now that her mom was safely looked after, Pam decided it was time to get back to work herself and handed a job in the programs department in traditional assisted living at Academy Point. 

She could even visit with Leola at lunch and after work. In Pam’s view, she could not have enjoyed a better final two years with her mother, who passed away in 2016.

Pam is now the Programs Assistant at Academy Point at Mystic. She remains dedicated to serving residents and their families with the same grace, love and empathy that she and her mother enjoyed.

Even now her colleagues still reminisce about Pam’s mother – like the other day when one of them heard someone say, “One foot in front of the other” – fondly recalling a favorite saying of Leola’s.

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