Neighborly Care Network

Mom’s birthday at Neighborly in 2014 – Can you spot her?

Mom is now a participant in the Suncoast PACE program, but for almost five years, we were very fortunate to be a part of the Neighborly Care Network. She attended their Adult Day Program from January 2011 through November 2015, and loved going every day.

Mom’s time at Dietert Center had broken the ice on her willingness to attend a day group, but after we moved to Oldsmar in late 2008, we had to start over. Oldsmar has a nice senior center, but it is more of a meeting place and clubhouse, with a calendar of activities for active retired folks. I tried taking Mom up there, but she’s always been pretty shy, and her dementia had by then robbed her of her ability to negotiate new situations and any real interest in doing so. She just sat in a chair by the door, waiting for me to get finished with whatever errand I was doing, with no curiosity about what was going on with the people around the room and no inclination to join in.

I had called Neighborly Care and talked to them about their program, but it took me awhile to find a regular job. Until I was working full-time, we didn’t have as much of a need for Mom to attend, but as soon as I had a job that kept me away from home all day, it quickly became apparent that she needed some outside source of social interaction and enrichment. And Neighborly Care was right there. A nurse and a social worker came to our home to do assessments to make sure she was right for their program. I took Mom over to visit and have lunch (she likes lunch) and meet the staff. They arranged from the van to pick her up one day a week, and then it became available for Mom to attend two and then three days each week.

We are grateful for the PACE program and all the services it offers, but I’m not sure Mom would even be here if we hadn’t had Neighborly Care all those years before.

Thank you, Neighborly Care Network!

Dietert Center

The Dietert Center in Kerrville, Texas

Mother moved in with me in the summer of 2007. After the move, she wouldn’t drive anymore because she was afraid she might get lost. In Kerrville, Texas. It was probably a good thing that she was off the road.

This left me as her only social connection, outside of infrequent visits from my niece. Mother wanted me to come home for lunch every day, and would call my cell phone if I was more than 10 minutes later coming home that she thought I ought to be. To say I felt smothered is an understatement.

Fortunately, Kerrville has The Dietert Center. They have lots of programs for retired people, but the one that was a lifesaver for me was The Take 5 Club, which offered adult day services to provide respite for caregivers. She wasn’t having any of it. The Program Director was kind enough to visit our home in an effort to convince her to give it a try. I finally had to bully her into going the first day, promising that I would stay nearby and that she need only try it, not commit to it.

Below is the e-mail I sent to the Dementia Rescue Yahoo group (more on that in a future post) after that first visit.


When we got there, we were the first ones, and when people began arriving, Mother was pleasant, but her body language was definitely “closed”.  I hung around in an adjoining room for about an hour, then peeked and she seemed much more at ease and the look on her face indicated she was enjoying herself.
So, I told her that I was going to run a couple of errands, and she confirmed I would be back, but did not seem alarmed at all that I was leaving.  I went on back to work, and picked her up at 2 p.m, which is when the group ended, and she seemed to have had a good time.
When the coordinator said, “See you next week!”, Mom said, “OK”, and when she got into the car, she didn’t say anything about being glad that was over and she didn’t have to go back.  I asked her about lunch, which she had enjoyed, and about the rabbit that the pet therapy guy had brought – ‘Bennie, the Bunny’ – and she talked about that, too.
I was afraid to ask about her going next week.  I think I’ll wait until the weekend to mention it again.
Mom at the Dietert Center – 2/18/08
She attended three days a week for almost a year, before we moved to Florida that fall. Not only was it a great program and a great relief for me that she had other people to interact with, but it also made convincing her to go to the program I eventually found in Florida a little easier.
Thank you, Dietert Center!

Birthday Bash


Mom turned 87 at the end of December. The day before her birthday, I ordered seven dozen mixed cupcakes from Publix, to share with the other attendees and staff at her adult day center.


They passed them out after lunch and led everyone in a pretty rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday.”


Mom enjoyed the serenade, and was too quick blowing out her candle for me to catch it on film.

A good time was had by all, especially Mom, who pushed aside her lunch and skipped straight to her cupcake.

Happy Birthday, Mom!