Hear Barbara, current AGE board member, talk about what AGE has given to her and her mother:
Mrs. Kitty began showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease about ten years ago. As Mrs. Kitty’s disease progressed, she went from living independently to needing a full-time caregiver. Her only child, Barbara Wiederaenders, immediately embraced the role of caring for her mother. Within two weeks of bringing Mrs. Kitty to live with her, Barbara realized that she wasn’t capable of giving her mother the attention she needed on her own. She decided to bring Mrs. Kitty to AGE’s Adult Day Health Center. Mrs. Kitty did well at AGE’s Adult Day, and she loved the music program in particular. Barbara was impressed with the kindness she and Mrs. Kitty were shown by the staff and other clients.
“They take care of each other. This meant the world to me,” said Barbara. “They gave her the attention she needed as a person. They designed activities for her, and they kept her from awareness of her deficits.”
AGE’s Adult Day helped Barbara stay in touch with the reality of Mrs. Kitty’s disease and showed her that she was not alone in her experience. The staff set examples of how to treat her mother, which reinforced Barbara’s confidence in her own caretaking skills. With Mrs. Kitty in good hands at AGE’s Adult Day, Barbara also had time to take care of her own health and well-being.
“AGE strengthened our relationship,” said Barbara. “It allowed me the strength to support my mother effectively and to stay healthy.”
Though Mrs. Kitty has since passed away, Barbara has expanded her caregiving role to include caring for other caregivers through a support group at AGE, as well as taking a position of leadership by being on AGE’s board.
Barbara believes strongly in the power of what AGE provides to older adults and those who love and care for them. She doesn’t know what she would have done when she needed help taking care of her mother had AGE not been around- she and Mrs. Kitty would have likely run out of funds, or had to place Mrs. Kitty in a permanent nursing home much sooner.
Barbara feels called to stay involved as a volunteer through the support group and with AGE’s board because she’s been where the clients are, and she passionately wants to be a voice for clients and their families. She says, “The truth is that good staff, facilities, and resources are all things that AGE is proud to offer to the clients who need them- but those things cost money. And it is the community’s support that makes it possible for people of all incomes to find a place of refuge and support at AGE of Central Texas.”
100% of adults will need resources and services in the future for either themselves or someone they love due to the issues and challenges of aging. AGE of Central Texas needs your support to help meet that need. If you are willing to stand alongside Barbara and Mrs. Kitty by contributing to AGE, please click here. You can also find us at 3710 Cedar St # 2 Austin, TX 78705, or feel free to reach us at www.ageofaustin.org or 512.451.4611.