Master Tradesman

Seamless transition from day care to residential care.

John “Jack” Wilson, 76, is a jack-of-all-trades. He spent his career as a guidance counselor in the Volusia County School District working primarily in middle schools. Upon retiring, Jack went into business for himself, producing and selling coupon books used as fundraisers for nonprofits. He also co-owned a beach concession. Both endeavors were successful.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

John “Jack” Wilson and his wife, Toshiko

But ten years ago, Jack began showing signs of mental decline. His wife, Toshiko, noticed he was losing things, repeating himself and driving on the wrong side of the road.

“Jack was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and it was progressing,” Toshiko recalls. “Eventually, caring for him full-time became too much for me. The family decided he needed to go for short-term care, so we enrolled him into Grace Manor’s day program.”

Grace Manor Port Orange is an assisted living and memory care community that provides specialized care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It offers a unique Day Stay Program as well as residential care.

The Day Stay Program allows caregivers of people with dementia to drop off their loved ones for a few hours so the caregiver can attend to personal matters or take a break from their caregiving duties.

“Our Day Stay Program offers what we call rested relief for the short term,” notes Caryn Lauver, executive director of Grace Manor. “Most other communities only offer respite care, which typically has a minimum stay of fourteen days.”

With Grace Manor’s Day Stay Program, people with dementia can stay at the community for one hour, two hours or six hours. They participate in community activities and are provided with meals and therapeutic care.

Grace Manor also serves Day Stay participants when they require more intensive care.

“Jack started with us in 2018 in our Day Stay Program, which is essentially adult day care provided at our community for people with dementia,” describes Caryn.

“But in January, Jack fell and broke his pelvis,” Toshiko relates. “He went to a rehab center for two weeks but needed ongoing care. They sent him home, but I couldn’t help him because he’s six feet two, and I’m five feet. I was afraid he’d fall again, so we placed him at Grace Manor as a permanent resident.”

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.“A Godsend for Us”

“Jack now lives in a suite on site,” Caryn reports, “and his transition from Day Stay was seamless. The major difference is that Day Stay participants leave the community every night and go to their homes. For those in residential care, Grace Manor is home.”

“Living at Grace Manor is good for Jack because it provides socialization with other residents,” says Julie Cremin, community engagement director at Grace Manor. “And his wife is a breath of fresh air. She has so much energy now because her stress level has been reduced significantly. Having Jack at Grace Manor allows Toshiko to be his wife again and not his caregiver.”

“Jack really likes Grace Manor,” Toshiko shares. “He likes the staff and the people, and he gets many visitors. He also likes that doctors regularly visit the community, which is great for me, too. It’s difficult and stressful for me to get him into the car to take him to doctor appointments.

“I love Grace Manor and its people. The staff and activities director are amazing. And I love the food. I join Jack for meals sometimes, and the food is delicious.

“I absolutely recommend Grace Manor. Even my brother-in-law, who visits Jack regularly, says, If I need to go into a community, that’s the place I want to go. Grace Manor Port Orange is a godsend for us.”

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