This Christmas morning, John Cook will wake early as he normally does. He will set aside his wife Harriet’s medications – six pills in the morning and six in the evening – and get her up and dressed. He will prepare and feed her breakfast, check her blood sugar and give her insulin .
He will remind Harriet – or Hatsy, as she’s known by friends and family – several times throughout the day that he is her husband, that they have been married for 53 years, that they have a daughter and that he loves her.
Then, on Thursday, he will endure the most difficult decision he’s ever had to make throughout their more than half-century together: to move Hatsy from their West Chester home into a nursing facility at The Emeritus at Long Cove Pointe in Mason.
“It’s been the hardest job that I’ve ever had,” said Cook, 74, of the 10 years he’s spent caring for Harriet since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 63.
It’s a process Cook says has been made easier by a complimentary home visit program offered by Emeritus Senior Living, which operates the facility in Mason and another in Edgewood.
The Seattle-based company launched the free service in 2009 at each of its more than 470 assisted-living and memory care facilities nationwide. Emeritus staff donate their time and services to the program.