In late April 2012, a Calgary Seniors Outreach Worker received a call from the distressed adult daughter of an 85 year old man, named Metro. Mary, Metro's daughter, was concerned that her Dad was no longer able to carry out day to day activities in his home. He was suffering from shortness of breath, chest pain, malnutrition, mental health problems and his physical surroundings had deteriorated to the point that they had become unsafe.
Mary was feeling very anxious and frustrated when she called. She had previously experienced a lot of difficulty accessing help for her Dad and was starting to believe it was hopeless. She was also feeling judged by the community and ignored by service providers. Mary was reaching a critical level of burnout due to the high level of stress she had been living with for some time. In addition to trying to assist her Dad and working full time, Mary was also supporting her mother, who lives in a nursing home, and her husband who has some health concerns.
When our Outreach Worker went out to visit Metro, it was immediately identified that he had extreme mental health problems and needed urgent assistance. He was engaging in physically harmful behaviors, such as pulling off his toenails with pliers, which could simply not be overlooked. The Outreach Worker, in cooperation with Mary, was able to get Metro to agree to go to the emergency room. He was diagnosed with severe dementia and has now been placed in a Designated Assisted Living facility. Calgary Seniors helped both Metro and Mary get the support they needed to be healthier and safer.