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May 16, 2018
This piece is presented by Grand Living at Lake Lorraine.
Darrell Schultz was used to being able to take care of things.
For 40 years, he owned Westmoor Music, a career that followed his military service and began with a part-time job selling pianos.
At home, though, his late wife, Pat, began struggling with her memory.
“And I took care of her, and it was fine. It was no problem for me,” he said. “But even though you don’t want to admit it, things progress and not for the better.”
He became increasingly concerned what would happen to his wife if something were to happen to him.
He knew needed to do something.
After hearing about Grand Living, Sioux Falls’ brand-new senior living community at Lake Lorraine, he made a phone call.
“And I got this fantastic person on the other end of the line. And she told me about the community and said, ‘You should come out and look at it.’ ”
He and his daughter did. They told the Grand Living staff about Pat, and they toured Luminations, Grand Livings’ community created specificallyfor people living with dementia.
“And we went home,” Darrell said. “And somehow between the time I got home and bedtime, I just knew it was time to come now.”
And then he made an unexpected decision.
“Pat wasn’t coming alone. I was coming with her.”
So Pat moved into Luminations, and Darrell moved into an apartment at Grand Living. Before, his wife used to ask that he sit with her all day at home, which could be difficult as he managed cooking and cleaning.
“Here, she had great gals who sat with her and would talk and things like that. I could tell she was happy,” he said. “And I would go down and be with her at noon and for a couple hours and then again in the evening. I could sit with her and give her my full attention, and she was happy, and our time together was really quality.”
He even fine-tuned his piano-playing skills again, playing while Pat sang along at Luminations and attracting other residents from the memory care community.
“If you have memory problems, music is so good,” he said. “Pat forgot many things but could always remember the words to ‘You Are My Sunshine.’ ”
Music is an integral part of the Grand Living experience, and one that fits him perfectly. He has brought the grand piano from his apartment down to one of the main dining rooms to play for the community multiple times and is teaching a young staff member.
“They have terrific instruments, which all came from the store I used to own,” he said, laughing.
He encourages other families whose loved ones need memory care to look at Luminations, which just opened Lavender Lane, a neighborhood solely for women. At Luminations, care revolves around entering a resident’s world, providing a safe and secure experience that creates moments of joy for them and their families.
Pat, who passed away late last year, couldn’t have found a better fit, he said.
“The situation is different for everybody but just look at a place like this and come out and see what’s available. Maybe the time isn’t right now. Maybe it’ll be in a year or two, but if you know it’s here, it’s very comforting.”
As for Darrell, he acknowledges he probably doesn’t need to be living at Grand Living now that Pat no longer needs care. But there’s no way he’s moving.
“What’s not to like? I like everything here. It’s a great place. They let you do what you want. I never went out to dinner for years, and now I go out to dinner every night, and I don’t even have to leave – there are so many options right here at Grand Living,” he said. “I’ve made so many friends here; I wouldn’t want to leave them for the world.”
When Darrell Schultz knew he could no longer take care of his wife, Pat, at home, he made a decision that proved life-changing for both of them.