Nancy Mancini, a participant at East Oakland PACE, will tell you that her biggest accomplishment in life is raising her three children into healthy, caring, and functioning adults. And one of the accomplishments in Michael Mancini’s (her son) life that he is most proud of is being able to take care of his loving mom by getting her the care she needs as she ages.
“Her life was in a blender”
When Ms. Mancini had an aneurysm, her whole world was “put into a blender”. She gave up everything and was no longer able to be active, to get out and walk and exercise, like she once did. She was an active part of her church in St. Petersburg Florida and loved to read, play trivia and exercise.
In 2016, Michael and his wife moved back to Florida to help care for her. Her son says, “When we lived in Florida there were constant issues every single day. The board and care my mom was living at yelled at her, overmedicated her, tried to put her into a psychiatric ward, pureed food instead of feeding her (she can chew)—mostly they treated her like she didn’t matter, with no dignity and respect and she didn’t deserve that.”
You up for an adventure, Mom?
Michael, seeing his mother take a turn for the worst, asked her if she was up for an adventure. He asked her if she wanted to move to Oakland where he had a community bond at his church and more support. She said yes, of course, and in 2018, 2 years later, their family took a leap of faith.
It was my first time flying with a non-ambulatory person—she is physically paralyzed, and so it truly was an adventure for both of us. We moved back to Oakland and didn’t know what to expect. We needed helps so we got her into they hired a board and care, but it was expensive and temporary.
In June 2018 Michael learned about CEI from the administrator at the temporary assisted living his mother was resided at. Then someone from our enrollment team met Michael and Ms. Mancini and gave them resources to move from the assisted living and in six weeks she was in a new home and enrolled at CEI.
CEI took the pressure of caring for my mother away
When we came to CEI not only did she get her needs meet immediately,” Michael says, “but there was no more pressure with people saying we’re not going to cover your medications, or the doctor’s going to dump your case, no more pressure in how she was going to get back and forth from the doctor, no more pressure in her meal plan. And there was no more abuse because we had a team of advocates that truly cared for her well-being. Me and my wife can go on dates and not worry about her care because she is happy and loved.”
CEI treats elders the way they should be treated
Michael and his mother continue their adventures every time they attend one of CEI’s outings. In 2019, at both the Valentine’s Day dance and the Annual Picnic, Michael said they had a blast together. “I just really appreciate everything. And my mom is still the same person who raised me, so it’s my pleasure to attend events. She has really been missing the staff and the center with COVID-19 and everything, but she’s still doing well.”
Ms. Mancini said, “Being a part of CEI has changed my life for the best.” Her son argues that it’s changed her life dramatically. “Without CEI, we can’t manage her needs, I can’t be a son and just support my mom. I was completely burnt out and I used to have to fight for her to get good care and it didn’t allow me to be a husband and as a result it really changed me. But CEI treats our elders the way they should be treated.”