Judith Fee could barely speak when asked about her husband Henry and his time at Tranquility Bay Adult Day Care. Her voice shuddered, and tears rolled down her face. “It’s hard to talk about it,” she said. “They are just so wonderful. When they opened, it was an answer to my prayers.”
Henry was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease affecting his memory and quality of his life, and his wife Judith’s. “They have been challenging his mind,” she said. “He has been sleeping so much better.”
She now has free time to have lunch with her daughter-in-law, and freedom to do things during the day. “Who knew I would miss ironing so much,” she said.
Henry said he was having a good day, while relaxing at the center. “I had a good lunch; I don’t remember what it was, but it was good.” He likes puzzles and sang “yeeeeeesssssss” in a perfect baritone pitch when talking about his love for karaoke.
Raisel Mendez and her husband Oscar Hernandez opened the Key Largo location in 2012 after Mendez realized there was nowhere for her grandfather to go to socialize and do activities. “It was hard for us to work because we were worrying about him at home,” she said.
Along with karaoke, the center has computers, exercise station for yoga and zumba, nail and beauty salon area, arts and craft room, and cafeteria. There are two bathrooms and a shower, in case there is an accident. The staff checks the participants’ blood pressure and blood sugar daily. They also offer door-to-door transportation, even making runs to Big Pine Key to pick up a participant. The Marathon center also travels to the senior center daily for lunch and more socialization.
Fee says Mendez is filled with energy. “As soon as Henry sees Raisel and Ada, he perks up,” she said. “They make everyone feel like the center of attention.”
The Key Largo location has on average 30 people; the Marathon location is now at six after opening in February. The center caters to anyone older than 60 years of age, but anyone with a disability over the age of 18 is welcome. Monroe County has a grant program for those with memory loss, where the co-payment can be as little as $1 per month, which includes the transportation, breakfast, lunch, snack, and monthly field trips (they go places like Dolphin Research Center and Lion Country Safari, at no extra fees). The center is also covered in many insurance programs and they will work with anyone’s financial situation.
“It is very difficult for me,” said Fee of her husband’s condition. “But, now it’s not as bad as it was.”
“The personal touch is endearing, and the constant supervision is a big relief.” —Margaretta Contreras, whose mother has been in the program for five years at the Key Largo location.
Tranquility Bay Adult Day Care
100360 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo
10875 Overseas Hwy, Marathon
305-440-2398 • [email protected]