We had the pleasure of speaking with Joe Laponis, husband of Billie Laponis, who is a participant at our Enrichment Center Adult Day Program. Billie has lived with dementia for 4 years. Once given the diagnosis, Joe thought he could handle caregiving for Billie all alone. He quickly learned he was mistaken. As day to day tasks became more difficult for Billie, Joe realized that he needed resources quickly.
Before joining the Enrichment Center Billie would spend her time at home sleeping. Joe stated, "The Neurologist prescribed medication with terrible side effects and the best advice they gave me was to keep her involved in cognitive activities. I tried to keep her engaged at home and it just ended up frustrating both of us. But here at the Enrichment Center she's playing Musical BINGO and UNO... she's happy, she's smiling."
With the help of the Enrichment Center volunteers Joe is able to run errands knowing that Billie is in a safe and comfortable environment . Joe expressed "I can’t see her being in an assisted living center. I can’t bring myself to the realization that someone else has to take care of her, that I can’t do it...she likes being at home."
Joe began attending our Family Caregiver Support Groups where he receives special and individualized support and an opportunity to share the challenges of caregiving with a very supportive group of other
egivers. He stated "There is no reversing Alzheimer's... but I've learned better ways to deal with it."
Joe expressed how grateful he is for the volunteers and Angelika, Enrichment Center Director, who he feels is now an extended family.
"The Enrichment Center activities cannot be replicated, it is a miracle." -Joe Laponis