Last week twin toddlers drowned in the family pool after their great-grandmother with Alzheimer’s mistakenly left the back door open.
Alzheimer’s Causes Unimaginable Tragedy
Jenny Callazzo is a 37-year-old stay-at-home mom of six. She lives in a house with her grandmother, husband, and their children. She reportedly went out on Thursday morning to find her 18-month-old twins unconscious at the bottom of the family’s pool. Locklyn and Loreli were taken to the hospital but tragically pronounced dead two hours later.
A family member disclosed to the Daily Mail that Jenny’s grandmother has Alzheimer’s and left the back door open. Police are still investigating the events but thus far, don’t believe any suspicious activity. A few days before the accident, Callazzo posted pictures of her twins outside the home with the caption “just want to play outside.”
A Concise Sign
Sadly, Alzheimer’s takes a huge toll on the people who’ve been diagnosed and the people they love. It can be emotional and difficult for families to talk about the disease and how to move forward. It’s important to be prepared for the inevitable disruption to everyone’s lives and allow some extra time to prepare for family outings. Most commonly, those suffering from Alzheimer’s can become confused, forgetful, and sometimes even violent.
Signs of Alzheimer’s may include someone forgetting they have scheduled upcoming appointments or how to get home on their usual bus route. It’s important to remember that at times, they may be in a different time in their lives, so their hallucinations may overlap past memories and “imagination.”
Talking About Alzheimer’s
Often families will avoid discussing taking precautions so as not to embarrass their loved ones or make them feel ashamed. However, addressing life post-Alzheimer’s diagnosis is essential for the entire family. Addressing Alzheimer’s can be hard, but having these tough conversations is important to avoid fatal safety concerns. Understanding exactly where Alzheimer’s has progressed can allow the whole family to feel a sense of ease and what to expect in the future.
When having a hard conversation, be gentle with everyone, including yourself. This is likely uncharted territory for everyone involved. Find a facility or caregiver who you feel will be the most patient, kind, and fun. The reason for this is simple, we want our loved ones to be happy and diligently cared for when we can’t be present.
Hiring someone with the aforementioned qualities will ensure your loved one stays happy and at ease during emotional or confusing moments. For those suffering from Alzheimer’s, routine is important to maintaining a sense of normalcy. Furthermore, maintaining as much independence as possible will both give them a sense of self-worth and a sense of dignity.
Addressing Safety Concerns
Lastly, if your family has decided to keep your loved one at home, taking some simple every day steps can help. Firstly, ensure you take the most precautions possible regarding any bodies of water on the property, such as pools or ponds. This way, in the event of an accident, there are extra barriers to protect your children. Other precautions for household pools may also include using a pool cover or installing an alarm around the pool.
Another option may be to consider baby swim lessons. There are several benefits to doing so and lessons can begin as early as 6-7 months old.
Laura Gamino is an injury prevention coordinator at OU Health. She spends her days helping to prevent traumatic injuries and recommends homeowners add a 4-foot baby gate or wall around bodies of water. They need to be locked, or tall enough that toddlers and small children won’t be able to reach the latch. “Anything can happen in an instant. Children are attracted to water and toddlers won’t have the skills to be able to help themselves get out of water … Drowning is very sudden, and it’s very silent.” She explained. “Sometimes people have an idea that a child will have trouble in the water and be screaming, but they can’t because their mouth is full of water. So, it’s very silent, and that’s one of the scariest things about it.”
Support for a Hurting Family
As for now, a GoFundMe page has been set up for the family by Dawn Lemons, the twins’ godmother. Captioned, “These beautiful babies were taken from us too soon. Anything you can give to help with expenses would be greatly appreciated. We appreciate everyone’s love and support,”, the page had a goal of just over $15,000. At the time of this publication, the page had raised more than $5,000 over the set goal.
The sad event will hopefully be a reminder to parents everywhere that addressing hard topics like Alzheimer’s, is essential. Not just for the peace of mind everyone may find. Also, to prevent safety concerns such as in this case. Furthermore, when someone has a disease like Alzheimer’s that impacts, it’s important to treat safety in a delicate manner.
As though said person has reverted back to early childhood. Not in the way you treat the person, but in how you “babyproof” your house. Baby gates, outlet plugs, locks on doors, etc. Though this may not be necessary in every case, assessing your own family’s needs will be the most helpful tool in deciphering how to move forward after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
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- “Tips for caregivers and families of people with dementia. Alzheimers.gov. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
- “Toddler Twins Drown In Pool ‘after Grandma with alzheimer’s left Door open’.” Daily Mail Online. Emma James. March 21, 2023.
- “18-month-old twins drown after great-grandmother with alzheimer’s leaves back door open. New York Post. Dana Kennedy. March 18, 2023.
- “Pool Safety: How to keep children safe around pools.” BabyCenter. Karen Miles. July 21, 2022.
- “Twins drown in Family Pool ‘after great-gran with alzheimer’s leaves door open’. Mirror. Kieren Williams. March 18, 2023