When Paul and David Bolton were growing up, they knew to expect the unexpected from their dad. Kenneth Bolton, who recently passed away, was a practical joker — and pranks brought the family close together.
Today, when the brothers visit their dad at Wichita Presbyterian Manor, they start right in on each other.
“My dad’s always had this killer sense of humor,” Paul Bolton said. “We go up there and we joke with him, and we harass each other, just like old times, and I think that that’s a familiar territory for him. He doesn’t feel like he’s excluded and isolated.”
Those special times have been hard to come by in the past five years, since Alzheimer’s disease began robbing Kenneth Bolton of the things that are familiar. Paul’s brother, David, had been caring for their father at Kenneth’s Wichita home for several years as his health declined. Last year, Paul took extended leave from his chiropractic practice in Colorado to relieve his brother. But like many adult caregivers, they realized their abilities were limited.
“As the disease progressed, it just became pretty apparent that the risks involved in him living at home were getting too great,” Paul Bolton said.
Paul and David Bolton’s dad had always been there for them. Now they wanted to take care of him as well as he had done. That meant finding a place for their dad to get the skilled health care he needs with the compassion and dignity he deserves.
For the Boltons, it was Wichita Presbyterian Manor’s new memory care residences. Paul Bolton’s grandmother and great-great aunt had lived at Presbyterian Manor, he said, so there was comfort in that.
“(Dad) kind of said all along, ‘Well, if I have to go someplace someday, Presbyterian Manor would be one of the places I’d want to look at,’” Paul Bolton said. “Knowing that he had a positive impression of Presbyterian Manor was a big help.”
The Boltons also knew that as the disease progressed, a transition would only get more difficult. So they brought their dad to visit Wichita Presbyterian Manor more than once.
“His response, when he saw it, was, ‘This is like a resort in Colorado,’” Paul Bolton said.
The family also appreciated the therapeutic approach to memory care at Presbyterian Manor, with activities that would engage him on his own terms, as well as pastoral care. It’s the least they could do for a father who gave them so much.
“All the time that I grew up, my parents supported me in everything that I did,” Paul Bolton said. “You do for family what you might not do for other people.”