May 22, 2018
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Parents with autistic sons share story of search for assistance

Photo courtesy of Bridges Home Care
Photo courtesy of Bridges Home Care
Ben, who has autism, and his dad enjoy a day at a lake.

AUGUSTA, Maine — November is National Home Care and Hospice Month. Deb and Ken, who for reasons of confidentiality don’t give their last name or the town they live in, wish to share their story of thanks for the caregiver they hired through Bridges Home Care to care for their adult son with autism.

Deb wrote, “Twenty-eight years ago the word ‘autism’ took a huge handle on our lives. We have two kids, and they both have autism. As we entered the journey of becoming advocates for both our children, we became their teachers, nurses and care providers. This was before we had computers. All the information we got was on our own. I stopped teaching second grade and became a stay-at-home mother because our son Ben developed seizures that would place him in ICU or CCU for days. We traveled to Boston and anywhere the so-called experts were.

“After our kids graduated from high school, their eligibility for financial assistance for care was drastically reduced and the world of care became the responsibility of family members. The day we decided to ask for an agency’s help was very traumatic. How could we let a stranger into our home? Ben is non-verbal, he could be abused or neglected. Maybe we could set up a hidden camera? The very idea was too hard for me — so I did it all myself, including bathing, shaving, feeding, etc.

“Then one day we decided to give Bridges Home Care a try. We honestly thought we found an angel the very first time she walked in (and still do). Erica comes in with a smile — and leaves our son with one when she leaves. My husband and I get to spend time together once a week while our son is being well cared for. We lost our respite hours when the state cut funding, but at least now we can connect with each other for a small amount of time each week. And it’s not for PETs, PCPs, IEPs, MRIs, CAT scans, EEGs or ER visits, it’s because we have Bridges Home Care and our sweet Erica as our angel. The smile she puts on his face leaves one on our hearts.”

Bridges Home Care is a division of Spectrum Generations, the Central Maine Area Agency on Aging. Bridges provides care at home throughout central Maine to elderly and disabled adults. Services include housekeeping, bathing, dressing, errands, companionship and round the clock care.

For more information, call (800) 876-9212.

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