Dan Grace: Legacy of Fun & Caring

Dan Grace with son Josh, left a legacy of fun & caring. Find out more about the Dan Grace CARES scholarship at CJFS of Birmingham.

Fun-loving and huge-hearted are two words that come to mind when remembering Dan Grace. The late husband of CJFS employee Lise Lapidus Grace, Dan was known for his practical jokes, his love of sports, and his deep commitment to justice.  A former police detective, Dan was hugely caring and generous. “Alzhiemer’s Disease robbed Dan of many of those qualities”, Lise shared.

To anyone who knows Lise or knew Dan, it comes as no surprise that to honor his memory, Lise and her son, Josh, have created the Dan Grace CARES scholarship.

 “While Dan’s personality changes made him unable to enjoy the benefits of CARES, in my role as CARES Volunteer Coordinator, I see every day the impact of this program on both the participants and their caregivers,” Lise said.

People with Alzheimer’s and dementia lose much more than their memory. Often they lose meaning and purpose; they feel incompetent and get frustrated; and many become isolated as friends don’t know what to say or how to interact. At CARES the participants find meaning in helping each other; they find success and have fun engaging in such activities as art, games, music, exercise; and they find connection, forming true friendships with each other, with volunteers and with staff. “Cares volunteers and staff are trained to communicate effectively with participants, and they do it in a spirit of empathy and friendship,” Lise explained.

 "It served as respite for me - a break from my caregiving responsibilities at home.  And I got so much joy in seeing the benefits participants received every day at CARES and in seeing how valuable time away is for the caregiver.”

 Lise and Josh knew nothing would mean more to Dan than affording for others the laughter and loving community offered by CARES.  “The cost of caring for a loved one is both financial and emotional,” she said.  “The Dan Grace Scholarship will address both of those needs, in the form of much-needed respite.”

For more information about CARES, email CARES Program Director Pam Leonard, pam@cjfsbham.org or call 879-3438.

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