Tanya Stoyanova and her father Hristo, resident in Blocks Adult Care

Today, we will introduce you to the personal and very sincere story of Tanya Stoyanova. A woman who went through many difficulties in her life to find the peace she needs for herself and the person closest to her heart – her father.

Tanya is 46 years old, from Sofia. 18 years ago, she left Bulgaria and went to Toronto, Canada. She has a small business of her own in the flied of interior design, repair work and the preparation work of real estate for sale. She accepts the challenge of Canada not because of the impossibility of realization in Bulgaria but as an adventure to something new and unknown. With tireless work she manages to build a home, comfort, and a loving, supportive family.

What happens next, why, and how Tanya gets to Blocks is described in the following interview.

Who is Grandpa Hristo? Tell us more about your father.

My father Hristo is 86 years old. He is a native of the village of Galabnik in Radomir. In 1953, my grandfather built a house in Sofia’s Krasna Polyana district, and my father moved to live and work in Sofia. He has no special education and the last, pre-retirement 20 years of his professional realization are spent at the Institute of Electrical Industry in the Lozenets district as a locksmith-fitter. He also met his wife in Sofia, my mother Danche, and soon they a wonderful wedding. Years pass in unsuccessful attempts to have their own child and then I appear. With the help of a close relative, they find out about a newborn girl who will be left for adoption in the city of Stara Zagora. My dad claims he fell in love with me the moment he saw me. So, I grew up in a stable, loving family, cared for and well-mannered.

Both my parents have always stood behind my every decision and helped me with everything they could. Five years ago, after long conversations initiated by my father and not without his support, I managed to find my biological family. That is how I got a brother and three sisters with whom we still have a wonderful relationship. I tell all this in support of my reasoning that people who had the courage to raise a child who is not biologically theirs with the same love and responsibility are even more worthy of respect for me! Unfortunately, mom Danche died 23 years ago, and my dad was left alone. To this day, he is in a good physical health and is still active. However, dementia appeared, and the nightmare became unbearable for all of us.

When did his health problems appear?

Although I am far from my homeland, I have never given up my love and filial duty to my father. We heard each other regularly, at least 3-4 times a week. I knew his every step and action; I was aware of his every need and with the help of close friends he was not deprived of anything. He was a huge fan of mountain walks and knew Vitosha better than anyone else. He also visited us in Canada, but despite my requests he did not want to stay there. Great obstacles for him, of course, were language and lack of communication with friends. Every year, I spent my vacations with my father in Bulgaria. As in January 2020, when we celebrated the New Year together in Velingrad.

On New Year’s Eve, I was amazed and very happy to see dad in a different light, much happier than any other time, dancing tirelessly all night as a 20-year-old. The next day, however, I encountered my biggest nightmare for the first time, not yet realizing that these were the signs of progressive dementia. He became very aggressive towards me (atypical for him), threw himself on the floor in the hotel room, hit his head on the floor, insulted me… as if to attract someone’s attention… like we were harassing him… With the help of my husband, we managed to calm him down and returned immediately to Sofia. After a quick meeting with his personal doctor and on her recommendation, I threw all the alcohol out of the house. I knew he had dementia, but until now it was mainly about forgetting the names of people and places. He never got lost and was never unable to take care of himself. Although 85 years old, he kept his home clean and tidy. After a few days, he was back to normal – kind, friendly, my dad as I know him. I blamed the situation on the alcohol and left in peace for Toronto. For the next 4 months he was calm, we heard each other regularly, until I received a phone call in which he started insulting me. He started to be aggressive again and hung up the phone as soon as he heard my voice. He no longer allowed any help from my friends and acquaintances, accusing them of theft, harassment and turning them into enemies. He rang the neighbors’ doors, raised scandals, and harassed them. He also called me several time a day to insult me. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know how to deal with this situation. I took everything very personally, not realizing that he actually had very paranoid, aggressive dementia. For about a year, I was in a search for support. Consultation with the police, social services, lawyers, prosecutors, everyone shrugged their shoulders in their inability to help. Neighbors blamed me for the harassment they were subjected to, and I didn’t know what to do. All this happened during the Covid pandemic, when the Canadian authorities stopped all flights, and it was impossible for me to travel to Bulgaria. I have been in contact with many homes for the elderly, some more expensive and nice than others, but to no avail. They did not want to provide any assistance. For most, it was only important to send a deposit to book a check-in date and room.

How did you choose Blocks?

Then, the wonderful professionals in the care of elderly people from Blocks appeared! After a recommendation from my friend from Toronto, Anastasia Varbanova, I contacted Mr. Boris Palev. Our initial conversation lasted more than an hour, in which I once again explained the difficult situation with my father. I was extremely surprised when Boris said, “Look, I want you to calm down now. We will do everything in our power to help you!” Only a few days later, with the polite and kind assistance of the Block’s housekeeper, my dad was visited at his home by Dr. Sambel Baghdasaryan, an outstanding psychiatrist, and the most smiling lady, Mariana Ivanova, director of operations at Blocks. Together, with the support of all of them, I walked the difficult path to my immediate return to Bulgaria. Also with their help, all the necessary medical examinations for the admission of my father at Blocks Adult Care were made as well as the accommodation itself. I followed the instructions given to the maximum and with their irreplaceable help, I managed to provide him with care and peace of mind. To my great regret, all this time my father did not realize that I was his daughter, but he trusted me! He had already been put on medication, which had calmed his paranoia and aggression towards me. It was only when I crossed the threshold of my father’s house that I realized how difficult the last year had been for him. Our whole house was broken and dirty. All valuable family memories and photos were missing. My heart was torn to pieces, but I knew I was here to do my best for my father, the man I love endlessly! The man who, despite his dementia, had not forgotten to greet me with a bouquet of red roses on his coffee table!

Did your father’s condition improve after he was placed in Blocks?

Since my father joined Blocks Adult Care, I have had the opportunity to visit him several times before flying back to Canada. I was amazed that at our last meeting, my father already knew who I was, namely his daughter Tanya. Although in his own world, he is happy and likes his new home (as he called it). I am sure that it cannot be otherwise when he is surrounded by attentive, responsive, smiling young professionals. These are people with the appropriate skills and knowledge as well as strength of spirit and moral endurance!

What would you say to people who are afraid to turn for help in caring for their loved ones?

As a person who is closely involved in preparing real estate for sale, I have repeatedly come across elderly clients who want to sell their own property to be able to secure accommodation in an elderly home. To have a peaceful life, to be cared for, entertained, emotionally supported and relieved in their daily activities. To live healthy, active, and independent. These people do it fully consciously and willingly. In Bulgaria, people still need time to realize that accommodating our loved ones in a nursing home is not a rejection. It is hope, peace and care for our parents. I was also worried about what people would say. I even heard expressions like “They took her from a home (meaning an orphanage), and she wants to take him to a home (meaning home for the elderly).” It was these people who did not help in any way in the most difficult moment for me and my father.

Now, I am sure I did my best for dad by placing him in Blocks! I am constantly informed about his condition, needs and emotions. The radiant and always smiling Theodora (personal assistant) does not miss the smallest detail, and her kind attitude gives me peace of mind and hope that good people and professionals still exist!

My heartfelt thanks to the entire Blocks team for the high professionalism, competence, responsiveness, empathy, and most of all for the warm, humane attitude!

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