Dear friends,

Looking back it seems so obvious.

The signs were all there, but, at the time, my wife Meg and I had no idea what had caused my mom’s change in behavior: mood swings, paranoia, bolting from the house in the middle of the night.

Knowing what we now know, we don’t want anyone in our community to face something like this alone which is why I’m asking you to give to Collabria Care again today. 

I got a call from my Dad – Mom had run from the house and down the street to get away from him. Why would she do that?  

A visit to her doctor and few tests later, we had a diagnosis. She had Alzheimer’s disease.  

We moved in with my parents to help Dad care for Mom.  We thought this would provide him some relief and some space to process Mom’s diagnosis, and then he’d return to his normal self.  But he didn’t.   

Both of my parents, once so full of life, were now withdrawn and sullen.

The doctors told us it was nothing serious.  Dad was just sad about Mom’s diagnosis and “maybe he was depressed.”  Not satisfied with this, knowing in our hearts that it wasn’t true, we pushed back and pushed forward determined to discover what was causing Dad’s withdrawal.

This was when things got worse… My dad was diagnosed with dementia.

When we made the decision to move from our home in Santa Rosa to care for them, we didn’t know that Alzheimer’s and dementia would affect more than their memory.  Their ability to do the daily necessities of living and caring for their home was affected too.  And worse, it affected their relationship—they were no longer able to get along with each other.  They didn’t even like each other! 

Helping them with their daily tasks like bathing, dressing, and eating, and then mediating their tense interactions became a full-time job.

We were overwhelmed and, with little help from our family and friends, quickly became stressed and exhausted ourselves.  On top of that, I felt a deep sense of loss; my parents were still there, but they just weren’t the mom and dad I’d known all my life.    

When it became clear that they—especially mom, who had been so active and engaged in the community—needed more than we could give, Mom’s doctor recommended the Collabria Day Program.  It changed everything for us.

The Day Program staff, who specialize in dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia, knew exactly what we were going through with and immediately stepped in to help creating a program of care for each of my parents, to address their individual medical and social needs.  

But the care didn’t stop there. They took care of Meg and me too, by providing us a break from caretaking, and tools and techniques to help us cope.

My parents now go to the Day Program three days a week where they’ve made new friends and enjoy stimulating and therapeutic activities designed improve their overall health and quality of life.

Thanks to you all four of us are now connected to a community of people who are facing the same challenges we are.  The pressure is no longer on us to give Mom and Dad everything they need to be happy and safe adults.  We have help!

Meg and I now have the opportunity to focus on our lives and each other again.  My parents smile and laugh more than they have in years and they genuinely enjoy each other’s company again. And, we can now truly enjoy the time we spend with my parents.  

Please take a moment to give as generously as you can to guarantee the Day Program and Collabria’s many other vital programs are always available for our community!  No one should have to face Alzheimer’s, dementia or the end of life without help.   

With our sincere thanks and appreciation,

Brandon and Meg Patterson

Grateful Son and Daughter-in-Law

P.S. Please give your gift today!  Help us guarantee Collabria Care’s programs are available to everyone in our community, including people like my parents who are suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia… and their children, like us.