Kathy Hatfield was inspired to care for people with memory loss by her father, Lyman who had Alzheimer’s disease and lived with her in her home in Pfafftown, North Carolina for seven years.
Since 2004, she has had hands-on experience providing constant supervision, mental stimulation, physical exercise, and personal care - as well as formal training in dementia, activities, and family care home administration. Kathy’s loving care, patience, and attention to the special needs of people with dementia helped maintain her father's mental and cognitive condition without significant deterioration during his 12 years living with Alzheimer's.
Kathy Hatfield was at a loss nine years ago when she was dealt a life-changing challenge for her and her father, Lyman.
Hatfield, then living in Pfafftown, became the primary caregiver for her dad after her mom, Joan, died in 2004. Lyman was in the middle stages of what proved to be a 12-year bout with Alzheimer’s disease that claimed his life in 2011.
Instead of choosing a nursing-home setting, Hatfield learned how to provide her dad with mental and physical care. She also dove into formal training in dementia, activities and family-care home administration.
“What I learned along the way is that North Carolinians are developing Alzheimer’s and dementia at alarming rates,” Hatfield said.
A 2013 study released by the Alzheimer’s Association found a 31 percent increase in North Carolinians having the disease from 2000 to 2010, or from 130,000 to 170,000. By 2025, the number is projected to rise to 210,000.
“That showed to me the need for good care is essential for patients and their families,” she said.
Over time, helping her father fueled within Hatfield the desire to open small, around-the-clock residential homes to serve other families facing a similar scenario.
State approval is required to operate a family-care home for two to six residents. Ricky Diaz, a spokesman with N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, said there are 638 family care homes in North Carolina. He wasn’t sure how many of the homes specialize in Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
A quest that began in 2006 ended in July when she received her adult-care licensee approval to open the Perryman House in Thomasville’s Wallcliff Park through The Almost Home Group LLC, which she operates with partner David Laws. Read more>>
Kathy is the co-owner of the award winning website www.KnowItAlz.com, her caregiver based website she started in 2007, geared toward sharing the lighter side of caring for someone with memory loss.