Making the Most out of Challenges By: Shelley Krupa
magine your day starting out with three small girls, including two twins and one of them has a disability. It takes keen focus and an extra dose of motivation by the pure inspiration of watching your child with a disability face each day with gusto. “If she can smile through all her obstacles, there’s no way I can’t face what I have to do each day! A true fighter; she has no fear. I can’t I feel sorry for myself,” their mom, Heather Micek, said. With a switch of gears, her kids are handed off to the school bus or their trusted Nanny. She jumps in the car and drives to work. The drive helps her transition from mommy to administrator. You’d think she’d pick an easy office job. Nope, her day job is to embrace the challenges of running a memory care facility. Her “extended family” is composed of heartwarming adults affected with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. She and the other staff cares for its residents as much as they care for their own families. Personal life challenges? “How about going from fine and pregnant with twins to a premature delivery at 27 weeks, in less than 24 hours’ time? Hearing scary words fly: ‘Potential retardation’ ‘A referral to Mayo or United.’ United got us in at 2:00 p.m., identical twins were verified. ‘Has Baby ‘A’ ever moved?’ They told us we needed to deliver babies to attempt to save one baby. Baby ‘B’ was born at 4:39pm and Baby ‘A’ at 4:40pm. Apgar tests low at 2 and 0 respectfully. Keatyn weighed 1 lb. 8 ounces and Kaidyn 1 lb. 13 ounces. They were placed in NICU for up to 90 days. Kaidyn was due to have heart surgery at the same time of discharge for Keatyn, in two different cities, and I couldn’t be in both places.”
Obstacles were overcome, resulting in a beautiful set of twins, Keatyn is doesn’t have any problems. Her sister Kaidyn has tetraplegic spastic cerebral palsy. There is never a dull moment at their household. Adalyn, their older sister, is six and a redheaded angel. Both twins try to replicate her daily. Keatyn’s feet just keep going, only 22 lbs. at three-years-old, but her little feet are like the Energizer bunny. Kaidyn needs complete assistance. “She has determination to get there no matter what, always smiling, laughing and thankful for everything,” Heather said. “She’s made with an extra bit of love and inspires me every day.” Professional challenges? Running a facility on a day-to-day basis sounds tough? After all, caring for people with Alzheimer’s must be challenging, right? “It is, but there’s great joy seeing residents happy and feeling at home in their surroundings,” Heather explained. “They live in the moment. They approach obstacles by adapting and adjusting to their disease. It is inspir March 2015
ing and brings joyful moments to each day.” Knowing she has overcome obstacles and daily challenges personally helps her focus on creating a team of fighters and supporters resulting in a caring place for the residents to live. Overcoming obstacles and regulations: Many lessons are learned through running a facility. There’s the daily regulations that protect the residents. Doing it by the book requires diligence and strength to hold people accountable. “Keep going, we’ll get through this, we’re here to stay and we have people to take care of. We do the right things for the right reasons!” Heather said. With the support of her team and COO, Katie Anibas, another fighter for the cause, they are helping people on their journeys.
“A true fighter; she has
The biggest challenge is to reach as many people as possible. Every 67 seconds a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Each year 795,000 people have strokes, many leading to vascular dementia. Affected families are often at a loss on what to do next once they hear the news and can’t take care of their loved one on their own or worse, they live alone and aren’t safe. A team of people working with the community will make a difference. It takes fighters for the cause. Heather is one of those fighters, just like her daughter, or is it like mother like daughter? Either way, along with her team they fight for those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia every day. How does Heather keep motivated? There’s the daily watching of her daughter and family adjust to the disability. Overcoming each obstacle together is great motivation to make the best of the situation. At work? “We make a difference every day,” Heather said.
Shelley Krupa, business operations coordinator for Memory Care Partners, LLC. An advocate and volunteer for Alzheimer’s Association; a personal blogger and novice photographer; enjoys every day being able to inspire women to grow strong in their unique journeys. You can ﬁnd her at www.memorycarepartners.com or email@example.com