– Tara Issenberg, Daughter of Deirdre O’Dawe, Presidential Place resident
Although in hindsight she realized that there had been signs, Tara Issenberg did not recognize just how much her mother, Deirdre O’Dawe, was struggling with cognitive issues until she needed to be admitted to the hospital. “Mom was so careful about keeping herself independent and not telling us things. That’s why it was such a shock when she ‘suddenly’ went into active cognitive impairment — dementia.” After four months in the hospital, doctors told Tara that her 77-year-old mother’s condition was only going to get worse and that it would be very difficult to provide her mother with the care she would need at home. That’s when Tara began looking at memory care communities.
“The first two communities my husband and I looked at were just terrible — the atmosphere, the environment, everything about them,” she said. “I was starting to give up hope I’d be able to find a place I could feel good about when someone we knew recommended Presidential Place. There was no comparison. I immediately felt like we were stepping into a place where this was a home, not a business. Then we met with Taron. He took time to get to know and understand our situation,” Tara said. “His assessment was that Mom would be okay for a while living in assisted living, and could move into the memory care community later, if necessary. That’s when I knew this was the place.”
Tara moved her mom into Presidential Place in March 2020 and said it couldn’t have gone better. “Everyone was so wonderful! They allowed us to paint her bedroom the same color it was in the home she’d lived in for more than 50 years. We also moved in as much of her furniture, curtains and other things as we could and, as much as possible, setup all the rooms in her apartment the way they were at her house.” She added that because the family was able to recreate her home so successfully, Deirdre doesn’t realize she’s moved and is happy where she is.
In addition, Tara said living at Presidential Place has transformed her mom from a loner into someone very social. “Mom never made friends easily and usually kept to herself. Now she’s a new person! She loves all the classes and being around other people,” she said. “Every time I see her on FaceTime, she’s painting, making something, totally enjoying herself. It’s great!”