Stories of Hope
Boulder JFS Provides Much-Needed Support to
Blanche and Lorrie Caplan
By Emily Andrews
In 2010, when Blanche Caplan was 85, she flew to Colorado to visit her daughter and son, Lorrie and Wayne Caplan. Blanche never made the return trip home to Philadelphia; she suffered a few strokes during her visit that rendered her incapable of caring for herself.
Overnight, Lorrie found herself as her mother’s caregiver. As Blanche recovered, she moved into The Carillon, a retirement community, and started a new life in Boulder. Before the stroke, Blanche lived independently and took regular trips to Atlantic City, NJ where she loved to gamble. Lorrie had a full life, too. An intuitive life coach, abstract watercolor painter, published author, and a pop song writer, Lorrie’s life was focused on helping her clients and pursuing her artistic endeavors.
Fortunately, Lorrie had the insight many years earlier to devote herself to forming a healthy and happy relationship with her parents while her father was still alive. She wrote a book about her experience, titled “Giving Birth to My Parents.” That groundwork made all the difference in both Blanche and Lorrie’s present situation. Caring for Blanche and attending to her needs has become Lorrie’s primary concern. At times, her role of caregiver can be overwhelming, but Boulder JFS has been able to step in with support.
Blanche attends JFS holiday services and celebrations at The Carillon and has also been matched with Friendly Visitor, Lisa Shanken.
“Meeting Lisa Shanken has been the most wonderful experience for my mother, Blanche,” said Lorrie. “They are so connected and my mother’s world is better because of this match and connection. Lisa is family to her and Blanche is completely in love with her and looks forward to her visits.”
Additionally, with encouragement from JFS care manager Jodi Ansell, Lorrie joined JFS’s monthly adult caregiver support group.
Now 90 years old, Blanche has found her way in Boulder. A cinema fan, Blanche watches movies at The Carillon’s theater daily, if not twice a day, and still gets out occasionally to gamble. She recently started an “I love you campaign” among the residents, attendants, and families at The Carillon. Anytime someone helps Blanche, she graces him or her with an “I love you.”
For Lorrie, her mother’s compassion, kindness, and gratitude provide her with the strength to continue in her care-giving role. “It’s always a trip to see my mom so fiery, feisty, and funny with everyone she meets!”
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