Our Mother's Story

Mother and DaughtersAfter the sudden and tragic loss of our father, my siblings and I rallied together to make sure our mom was taken care of. At first she asked for her solitude and out of respect we tried to give it to her. But, I began noticing some differences in my mom’s behaviour. As time passed, mom began to seclude herself more and got worse. She wasn’t maintaining her appearance, something she was known for, and at times she didn’t even have the desire to get dressed. She had diabetes but wasn’t eating properly, was forgetting things like turning the stove off and taps running, losing track of years of her life and she even began to have hallucinations, thinking bugs were all over her body.    

My sister and I made an appointment to take her to the doctor. We discussed her depression, memory problems and forgetfulness. The doctor advised us to put her in a long-term facility and diagnosed her with Alzheimer ’s disease. This was a complete shock. After recently losing our father, we were not ready to lose our mother so we began discussing our options.

I spoke with someone from the Alzheimer’s Society and she didn’t think her symptoms fit the profile of Alzheimer’s so she recommended I contact the COPE Mental Health Program at Community Care Durham. The program helps individuals who are experiencing mental health, emotional or adjustment challenges. We were on the right path.

Through this program we were connected with a geriatric nurse who completed an assessment on mom and spoke with our family. 

Our next step on the journey brought us to the Mood Clinic at Ontario Shores. As soon as I entered the hospital I felt relaxed and welcomed and had a feeling that this place was going to be able to help my mom and our family.  Through the Mood Clinic we met with a geriatric psychiatrist who was able to correct mom’s medication, a social worker who helped connect her to life and recreational activities and a personal trainer who helped mom develop a workout program.  Mom was on her road to recovery.   

Since the visits to Ontario Shores, mom is back on track with her life. She joined the Durham warm water program which is held at Ontario Shores. She has also taken a painting class at The Whitby Station Gallery and is now taking a yoga class once a week at a Seniors Centre in Oshawa. Mom is walking more and she is beginning to enjoy going out with her family. 

My family and I are very thankful for the programs that were offered to help our mom. I give Ontario Shores and the COPE Mental Health Program all the credit for mom’s recovery. The help we received was outstanding.  Remember, one phone call can make a difference. 

Sandra Dee Hicks