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David's Wish

Engage Care Partners was founded by Brooklyn White in honor of her father, David White. David's wish for Brooklyn was that she work to make an impact toward others challenged by Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia. Below is a personal note from his daughter.

"Just Do Good"

Dear Ones,

"Just do good."  Three simple words that carry so much power. Kind of like "I love you." This was the lasting impression my father left on my heart as I watched him battle Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia for nearly a decade. My father was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2012. In 2015, he had an additional diagnosis of dementia. In 2018, he fell and broke his hip, requiring constant rehabilitation and care until he entered hospice in 2020. David's (my dad's) wish was that I focus on "just doing good." With that message, I have prayed and discerned God's will for how I could carry through on that challenge and promise I made to him while also honoring him.

Since Dad has passed, I just can't seem to let go of the life changing mission and purpose my mom and I were on when it came to caring for my father.  As a member of many social media support groups for both Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia, I can't help but notice the struggles caregivers and their loved ones face daily as they battle these conditions. It takes such a toll on everyone. I remember it so well. 

Today, more and more seniors are deciding to stay home, especially after COVID, rather than be willing to move toward assisted living and nursing home facilities. And rightfully so. The understaffing and neglect found in so many of these facilities is alarming, and my fear is that it will only get worst until aides are properly paid. However, choosing to stay home can also bring many challenges. While it can be done, and done well - there are plans that need to be put into place for everyone's well being. 

 

Choosing home can be a much more affordable and comfortable option. But choosing home can also be challenging, especially for the caregivers.  Often caregivers find themselves lacking the knowledge and know how to help with conducting necessary tasks and activities of daily living for their loved ones. In some cases, staying home isn't in the best interest of the person impacted by the condition, or the caregiver. It is very important to equip caregivers with the tools, resources and education they need to provide an ideal home environment.

If choosing to stay home, there are more and more opportunities to engage our loved ones in wonderful community and church based respite programs. Activity based programs have proven to be beneficial in helping with the overall demeanor and behavior of the loved one and allow them to rest easier because they have been engaged in and stimulated at appropriate levels of mental, physical and social activity. Unfortunately, not everyone can qualify for these programs because they lack mobility or are incontinent.

 

How can we engage those that don't qualify with similar activities and proven methods at home? We certainly can't expect the caregiver to always to do it. And not all home care agency staff have the know-how and resources to perform these research-based and proven methods of care specifically for those impacted by Parkinson's or Dementia.

While our loved ones can get home health services brought to the house, they usually only qualify for these services after an incident or hospitalization. As soon as progress is made, caregivers are back on their own to navigate keeping their loved ones stimulated physically, mentally and socially. Trying to keep therapies going in between insurance approvals is an added challenge for already exhausted caregivers. Most home care agencies focus on the activities of daily living - bathing, light housekeeping, meal preparation, etc. There are few to no programs that are dedicated to offering the mental, physical and social stimulation needed to homebound residents at the house - especially for those that are in between home health and hospice qualifications, or have tapped out their insurance coverage for physical, speech and occupational therapies.

My dream is to offer a program that bridges that gap. My goal is to start providing these services myself, and as demand grows, train others by offering the Engage Care Partners Certification to private caregivers to empower business ownership, equip with necessary training, tools and resources, and to amplify and scale this service in great demand. As a result, Caregivers can be assured that their loved ones are getting actively engaged programs tailored to their conditions. They can be relieved to know that anyone that is a certified Engage Care Partner has received the proper training and shadowing for conducting activities specifically for Parkinson's and Dementia.

Additionally, I am on a mission to find compassionate care givers, empowering others to feel confident in launching their own business so that they may be fairly compensated from the services they provide. While agencies charge $25-$30 per hour for their services, often the caregiver only receives $10-$12 per hour. I want to empower and support these caregivers so that they may earn their full potential for the heartfelt ministry they provide. 

 

I'm a firm believer that if you don't use it, you lose it -- whether that is the brain or the body. Engage Care Partners makes sure loved ones are stimulated physically, mentally and creatively at home. Regardless of condition, the goal of the program is to offer the best interactions and stimulation in a fun, safe and happy HOME environment. 

 

I believe the results will be happier loved ones that will sleep better and reduce triggers and stressors that cause Sundowner's and Capgras syndromes, as well as caregivers who are given the guilt-free break they need knowing they are putting their loved ones in the hands of those that have the expertise to understand and work with their loved ones. I remember being a caregiver. I remember how exhausting it could be. I also remember how concerned my mom and I were to leave dad in the care of someone that didn't understand his needs. That's why I wanted to build a program based off proven methods to ease the burden on caregivers and bring joy to all involved. 

In addition to offering the respite program, Engage Care Partners will also offer long term care plan consulting, home safety assessments and caregiving support. In tandem with the Engage Respite Program, I am also launching the Engage Memory Catchers and Story Tellers program. I want to help loved ones capture their memories and life stories to build their legacies for future generations through Engage Life Books and Biographies.

 

Engage Life Books capture the most important characteristics of your loved one. When they can no longer communicate for themselves, an Engage Life Book allows any staff interacting with your loved one to get to know them so that they can better tailor the care they provide to your loved one's interests. Additionally, the book can serve as a great comfort to your loved one for reminiscing as memory fades. These tools can be the foundation for a multitude of ideas and treasures to also leave behind for your loved ones.

As I work to launch this company, I am praying for God to open the doors and to help me to be the hands and feet of Jesus this population needs. I pray I am honoring my father and fulfilling my promise to "Just Do Good." I look forward to the many friendships that will be made and the lives this program will impact. And I appreciate your willingness to ENGAGE with me on this journey.

Lovingly,

Brooklyn White

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