alzheimers-care-blue-grapefruitOften times strategizing about the right kind of care for a senior is not cut and dry. At the very least, one needs to consider the patient’s needs, the family’s availability, options of places to live and finances. In the case of Mr. Copper a combination of options worked well in his Alzheimer’s care. It’s important to have care providers willing to share the duties.

Mr. and Mrs. Copper raised ten children in a comfortable home. Mr. Copper was a laborer and worked long hours to support his large family. Fast forward to Mr. Copper’s early 80s, the love of his life has passed on and his children are at odds with each other. He lives in the family home but is now relegated to what was once the family room, with an adjacent half bath and an under the counter refrigerator for his perishables. One of his children and their family enjoys the main part of the home.

Mr. Copper has Alzheimer’s. He’s pleasant, even boyish as he loves to play tricks to seek attention, even if that means urinating behind a door. It’s a game and he wants to be caught. In an effort to tire him out, one caregiver would send him in search of a blue grapefruit. The young family sharing his home didn’t have much time for him and finances were short, so creative care was necessary.

The solution was a combination of adult day care and home care to assist with his Alzheimer’s care. Adult day, also known as respite care provided a place of socialization, as well as breakfast and lunch, and daily bathing. There were social workers and nurses on staff to look out for anything unusual. At day’s end, family would pick him up and bring him home into the immediate care of a home care aide. The aide would make him a simple dinner of basic food provided by family. The evening would round out with activities to ready him for bed. The caregiver stayed awake overnight because Mr. Copper would sundown. Wikipedia defines sundowning as increased general confusion as natural light begins to fade and increased shadows appear. Sundowners may become confused, restless, particularly agitated, experience tremors and wander. This is when the blue grapefruit search would begin. He would eventually tire and sleep for a few hours, only to be woken by 7am so that the home care aide could return him to daycare. This combination of care worked for about three years until the poor family dynamics escalated into a legal battle resulting in Mr. Copper’s move to a nursing home and the sale of the family home. By the time Mr. Copper moved to the nursing home, his disease was so advanced that he did not realize the significance of leaving his home.

 


Janet Faraone founded a non-medical, senior home care company in 2000; back before Home Care was a household word.  As a pioneer in the industry, she learned the intricacies of helping families navigate the needs of seniors and opened a care management division. 

After more than a decade of helping seniors, she and her husband, Nick, sold their business to start a new chapter. Having been a long time friend of Seniors Guide and Home Care Choice, over lunch one day, it became clear that Janet’s wealth of knowledge could be incredibly helpful to our readers.  When she’s not hiking and skiing with her husband and three kids, or volunteering in the community, she’ll share her stories with us in the hopes that they will bring comfort and insight to caregivers and seniors.