Dave and Carol have been married for 48 years. Lovers of travel, photography, art, and community involvement, Dave and Carol have shared many rich memories together and enjoy spending time with their three children and their nine grandchildren. In 2010, their daughter came to Grace Center inquiring about our services. Carol was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2005 and Dave had been caring for her at home ever since. At first, Carol only showed signs of mild cognitive impairment but with time, she began to need more assistance and care. Dave underwent open heart surgery earlier in the year, which sparked their daughter’s inquiry into respite services for him. Dave’s hope was to continue to care for Carol at home as long as possible and realized his need for respite service in order to make this possible.
Carol began coming to Grace Center three afternoons a week. Due to her mid-stage Alzheimer’s Disease, she was very reluctant about being in a new environment and showed signs of anxiety through anti-social and sometimes aggressive behavior. Grace Center immediately began to work on creating a calming environment which worked specifically for Carol and her needs. Once this was accomplished, it allowed for staff to then introduce creative care techniques with Carol which helped her gradually grow to not only accept her surrounding environment but also enjoy and positively interact with it. For example, staff knew that in the past Carol had been an accomplished quilter who made quilts for the fire department to give to children whose homes had been lost due to fire. Grace Center identified this as an important part of her life and provided quilting squares in a basket in the hall with which she could pick up, interact with, and show others. Her love of quilting became evident as she often gravitated to these items and would tell everyone in the center about her “work for the kids” as she passed out the samples with a smile. In less than year, Carol had blossomed at Grace Center and instead of having reclusive and aggressive behavior, she was now greeting everyone with a hug, engaged in music therapy, and was able to come for longer periods of time where she would eat lunch with the rest of the participants.
At this time, through a bi-annual care conference with the Grace Center RN, Dave expressed a fear that he was going to have to place Carol in a living facility solely because of increasing challenges at home relating to Carol’s hygiene. “The hardest part at home is getting the personal hygiene done but otherwise Carol is easy to care for,” he said. In order to protect Dave’s wishes to keep Carol home as long as possible, Grace Center went into action in planning a way to provide for her needs through our newly developed shower and personal hygiene amenities. Carol’s time at Grace Center was then increased to half days, every week day, with daily showers.
Dave has expressed his appreciation for our services: “I have found that the Grace Center provides a well-designed program…that is flexible enough to accommodate a great diversity of individual needs.” Still an avid traveler, Dave had been hoping to take a trip to Yellowstone National Park and meet an old friend there whom he had worked at the National Park with 60 years prior. Due to his caregiving role with his wife, Dave had not been able to take this trip for many years. It wasn’t until he found that his wife had a safe and nurturing environment at Grace Center that he realized he was able to leave her care to his daughter and go on a much anticipated week long trip to Yellowstone. In his gratitude, Dave his given back to Grace Center by sharing his phenomenal photographs of his recent trip (as well as past adventures that he Carol shared together) in form of slide show presentations for the enjoyment of the Grace Center participants.