Bruce was born in December of 1944. He met the love of his life, Joyce, in school. The two were wed and soon after he was drafted into the Army and served in the Vietnam War. Bruce was stationed as a surveyor in Germany and he Joyce lived there together during his service. After the war, Bruce worked as an engineer for a machine shop in Albany, Oregon. He and Joyce purchased an old school building and renovated it into a beautiful home. Their daughter and her husband reside on the far end of the home in a separate apartment with their little one, the joy of all their lives. In the fall of 2004, at the age of 59, Bruce was diagnosed with vascular dementia, originally thought to be Alzheimer’s Disease. Seven years after his diagnosis, Joyce brought Bruce to Grace Center so that she could have the ability to go to a weekly computer class. It was very important to Joyce that Bruce remain home with her where she could oversee his care. By this time, Bruce was unable to be left alone and therefore Joyce was eager to give Grace Center’s Memory Care Services a try in order to have an opportunity for respite.
When Bruce first started at Grace Center, he was very drowsy, quiet, did not engage much with his surroundings, and needed full assistance with all of his activities of daily living (ADLs). Bruce also had a history of unexpected outbursts of aggression that would follow fits of uncontrollable crying. Joyce had many concerns that these behaviors would arise at Grace Center and be problematic but Grace Center’s skilled Program Assistants were able to provide Bruce with just the right amount of companionship as well as freedom to move about the center so that Bruce never once exhibited any aggressive behavior. Although Bruce was thriving at Grace Center, outside entities encouraged Joyce to place him in a facility which she did but found that setting to be far from ideal for Bruce. After transferring him to several different facilities, Joyce found that Bruce was drastically declining no matter which location she tried. After attending a medical appoint nearby, Joyce stopped in to Grace Center with Bruce to say hi and was amazed by his reaction. At that point in time, Bruce had become completely non-responsive to his environment and was showing signs of being over medicated. He also had lost a significant amount of weight and Joyce was concerned about dehydration. To Joyce’s astonishment, as soon as Bruce entered Grace Center and was greeted by the same staff that had cared for him during his time at Grace Center, his eyes lit up, a big smile spread across his face, and he said “Hi” back to everyone who was greeting him. Joyce, tearing up with joy, decided in that moment she was going to do everything in her power to bring Bruce back home and to have him come back to Grace Center.
With the help of the Grace Center administrative staff, Joyce was able to get Bruce Medicaid coverage so that he could have ten days per month at Grace Center paid for. Upon his return, the Grace Center Program Assistants were able to integrate new activities into Bruce’s life including the use of the Nu-Step workout machine for up to thirty minute at a time. Bruce’s improvement was almost immediately evident as he began to regain ADLs such as self-feeding and continued to positively engage with his environment. Bruce also regained the weight he had lost during his time in the facilities. Even with all these improvements, Grace Center’s RN knew that he had the potential for even more improvement with better medication management so, upon our RN’s suggestion, Joyce pursued having Bruce be taken off a medication prescribed at the time of his placement in the facility that was likely unnecessary and possibly causing negative side effects. To Joyce’s further joy, Bruce’s improvement continued exponentially after she took the advice of Grace Center’s RN and had Bruce’s doctor reassess his medications and remove him from this particular medication. Bruce went from limited engagement with his surroundings, to having the ability to carry on short conversations and even joke with his friends at Grace Center. Joyce recently wrote a letter of support for Grace Center in which she says, “I want to thank you for the wonderful, loving care that is given to Bruce on his visits with you. We are always welcomed with a smile and a cheerful “Hello”. It is a great comfort to know that he is in loving hands while he’s at your facility.”