Bringing mom home: How one Georgia son is caring for elderly mother

Michael Davis had his hands full back in 2007. He had just started a new job, gotten married and he and his wife had a baby on the way.

That’s when he realized his mother, in her early 80s, needed help. Annie Davis was living on her own after the death of her husband. Michael says neighbors were finding his mom wandering, seemingly confused. And, she’d begun to fall, repeatedly, each time ending up in the emergency room.

Annie Davis had always been strong and independent. She was a stay-at-home mom, who would do anything for her children.

Michael says, "I never thought that I would be the actually taking care of her."

Michael wanted to bring his mom to Georgia, to his home, where he could take care of her. But Annie Davis was in South Carolina. So, Michael started looking for options. He found Grady’s nursing care facility. He thought it would buy him some time to develop a plan for his mother.

Davis says, “I had to place her in a nursing home -- temporarily-- although I didn't want to do that.  But, I had to do put her in a nursing home in order to get all the paper work done."

Susan Robinson, a physician assistant at Morehouse Healthcare, helped Michael apply for a Georgia Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services waiver. That helped his mother qualify - through her government health insurance coverage - for a home-health aide 5 days a week, for 8 hours a day. That allowed Michael Davis to move his mother into his Cobb County home. 

Davis says, “It’s awesome. Without that (coverage), I don't think I would have be able to have her in my home.”

Robinson also makes regular home visits. She says studies show this continuity of care keeps older patients out of the emergency room.

Robinson says, “In Ms. Davis' case, in the (eight) years, she's had only one hospitalization, which is unusual for a patient with dementia.”

Over time, Michael and Annie Davis have grown comfortable with one another, despite the sometimes awkward role reversal of son caring for mother.

Michael says, “I remember, when I was first trying to change her pants, she would tell me ' oy, what you doing?' I would tell her, ‘I'm taking care of you, mamma!' She would look at me and laugh.”

Michael Davis says Grady and Morehouse Healthcare helped him do something that felt impossible at first: find a way to bring his mother “home.”

He says, “I said 'Mom, you don't have to thank me. I'm the one who should be thanking you.'”

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