Shay Jacobson, RN, MA, NMG, LNCC, CNLCP
Bobby’s mom was worried.
She was 80 years old and a widow. Bobby, her only child, was 35 and lived with her all his life.
Bobby’s mom, Alice, laid awake nights wondering what would become of Bobby, a severely obese young man with Down Syndrome, when she could no longer care for him?
A “Someday” Plan
Alice was Bobby’s guardian. His IQ was 40. His other challenges included kidney failure, psoriasis, depression, cardiac issues, gout, sleep apnea, chronic respiratory failure, gastro esophageal reflux, and atrial septal defect.
Alice saw an attorney to map out plans for Bobby’s welfare in the “someday” event that she might no longer be able to care for him. They made the necessary financial plans, but the overall management of Bobby’s life would prove more difficult to assign. The attorney referred Alice to Lifecare Guardianship; we developed a plan to become co-guardian with Alice so we could step in at a moment’s notice to offer care and support to Bobby should Alice suffer a medical setback.
And just three months later, Alice suddenly died.
Grief, Depression and a Man Named Tony
Bobby, fresh from losing the most important person in his life, grieved. Already depressed since the loss of his dad years before, Bobby sought to console himself in his usual place – the kitchen. This is where he could reliably go to soothe himself with whole sticks of butter, each rolled in Parmesan cheese and eaten like a hotdog.
At 420 pounds, Bobby’s health was in jeopardy.
But Tony would change all that.
As Bobby’s guardian, Lifecare Guardianship’s first priority was to ensure his safety with a live-in caregiver. With the court’s approval, we relied upon our sister company, Lifecare Home Solutions, to find a qualified caregiver who would assure Bobby’s safety and coach him through his day.
Tony was just the man for the job. In addition to support, encouragement and structure, Tony brought a new emphasis on activity to Bobby’s routine. The two men walked together. They went swimming at the YMCA. They did “crunches”. Tony even taught Bobby to moonwalk. As Bobby reaped the benefits of exercise, he also grew close to a father figure who helped him process the emotions that had historically propelled him toward the refrigerator.
Over the course of 14 months, Bobby’s weight plummeted to a much healthier 227. He no longer needs oxygen and his skin has largely cleared. Bobby’s doctor is thrilled with the improvements to his health that the weight loss has triggered. His life expectancy has increased to such a degree that his trustees are re-calculating his budgets.
Bobby is proud of himself. He misses his mom, and he may miss all that butter, but he loves the freedom a lighter body affords. He can do so many things now that were once out of reach for him, and he has discovered that the support of a close companion is far more comforting than anything the kitchen has to offer.