Dear Friends and Family,
You may not have heard from Virginia Cory for some time – and knowing my mother’s love of connection and correspondence, that would be of concern to all of you. I can offer a simple explanation of a long and too-familiar story.
Virginia was diagnosed in late February 2012 with late stage lung cancer and moderate dementia after a series of falls and trips to the emergency room. The last several months have seen her move within her Mt. Angel Towers community from independent to assisted living, and to begin hospice care to provide her comfort and assistance as she faces the challenges of the progression of both cancer and dementia.
In consultation with her care team, including her hospice advocates from Willamette Valley Hospice, I wanted to let you all know that Virginia is doing well, continues her daily routine of attending Mass and participating in some of the many activities of Mt. Angel Towers, and is reasonably comfortable.
Virginia’s dementia slowly manifested its effects to us. Like many older adults who maintain active lives well into their 80s, Virginia bridged her cognitive gaps with a structured daily regimen that allowed her to continue her daily activities with few signs of the extent of her cognitive impairment.
However, beginning in 2009, Virginia began to loose the ability to respond to new situations, including responding to correspondence. I was able to help her with some of the issues, including managing her finances and medical care remotely with the assistance of her health care team and effective powers of attorney. Her impairment progressed to the point that Virginia could no longer interact with her health care team without my assistance – and we all had to find ways to accommodate her changing cognitive profile.
What I couldn’t help was with the day-to-day communications and interactions with you. I’ve only recently become aware of how profound her limits are with regard to responding to written correspondence.
You may wish to contact Virginia, and I encourage you to do so – nothing makes her happier than to connect with the people with whom she shared so much. But I want to offer a few suggestions and cautions.
Please understand that receiving, comprehending, and responding to written correspondence is very challenging for Virginia; her short-term memory loss doesn’t allow her to process and act on cards and letters she receives from her friends and family. While she enjoys receiving cards, please don’t expect a written response.
She can receive telephone calls, and is happy chatting with people; however, she may need your assistance and patience with helping her to remember who you are and your relationship with her.
Virginia loves to see people who she knows, and can receive visitors in her room at the Health Center of Mt. Angel Towers. If you happen to be near Silverton or Mt. Angel, please feel free to stop by and say hello. Again, she may need you to help remind her of your relationship, and may have gaps in her memory of your shared experiences.
I will be posting periodic updates on Virginia’s health both on my personal blog (scory.blogspot.com) and on my Facebook page (facebook.com/scott.cory).
Thanks to all for the love and compassion and experiences you’ve shared with Virginia (and me) through many years.