KD shares a home in the Seattle area with her husband David, their two children and her mother-in-law Kathleen. Kathleen needs long-term care due to her multiple sclerosis (MS), which she has been managing for the past 30 years. In recent years, KD and David started noticing a decline in Kathleen’s ability to do everyday tasks without support and stepped in to help her get the care she needs.
Kathleen worked as a school counselor and teacher in the Detroit public school system for over 40 years and continued to live in the city after retirement, while KD and David relocated to Washington. Eventually, the family made the decision to sell Kathleen’s Detroit home so she could move to be near them.
For seven months, Kathleen lived in an assisted living community. While the community had many benefits – Kathleen could be with her peers, get around more easily, and had routine medicine reminders – KD felt the family still didn’t get to spend as much time together as they would have liked.
In 2022, KD and David moved into a home that could easily accommodate the wholefamily, including Kathleen. Now, Kathleen gets to spend time each day with her grandchildren and KD and David can play a more active role in Kathleen’s care. KDsays, “We thought it’d be great for the family overall — great for her, and great for our daughters. They get a chance to have grandma in the house. How cool is that?”
Kathleen now has two caregivers who come to the house to help her with everyday tasks like bathing, dressing, exercising and eating. They also help her get around the house using either her wheelchair or walker.
Although KD is grateful that Kathleen lives and receives care in the home, she acknowledges that the associated expenses and the demands of managing care can take a toll. She says a program like WA Cares would have made a difference for them, and she knows it will make a difference for other families like hers: “The last thing you want people thinking about in their golden years is money. WA Cares is a really unique program – to know that as you get older, you’re still cared for and you’re still valuable.”
KD says Washington is a great place to age because of programs like WA Cares. “WA Cares will be there for our elderly, a population of people who have done so much in our state and for our state. I also see WA Cares as being very important for our young people as they continue to grow up, as they continue to invest in our region. It’s just great to know that, if needed, WA Cares will be there for them.”Back to all care stories