Home Depot gives helping hand to local man SanTan Sun News

Home Depot gives helping hand to local man

Home Depot gives helping hand to local man
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By Kevin Reagan

Staff Writer

 

Joycelyn Craft had reached a point in her life where she felt like she was drowning. 

The Chandler math teacher was overwhelmed trying to adapt to the needs of her husband Robert, who has been struggling with Alzheimer’s disease for the last few years. 

Craft and her daughter do their best to keep Robert comfortable, but his disease keeps changing and it’s a struggle for them to keep up. He’s gotten to the stage where he puts objects in his mouth and needs to be monitored constantly. 

The only break Craft got was when she went to work at Arizona College Prep. 

“It’s all-consuming,” she said. “When I go to work, it’s actually a relief for my brain. I can interact in a positive way with my students and I can plan things for them. It’s a way for me to decompress.”

Craft knows Robert’s condition probably won’t improve. All she can do now is keep him comfortable and entertained. 

But Robert has the compulsion to fix things. He was a mechanic for several years, so he’s inclined to take things apart and put them back together. 

Robert’s fidgetiness was starting to worry Craft. She couldn’t give him objects to deconstruct without the fear he might ingest some of the pieces. 

Someone recommended Craft buy a special board equipped with stimulating, hands-on activities that would be safe for someone in Robert’s condition. These activity boards can cost up to $90 so Craft thought she could use her math skills to make one herself.  

She walked into the Home Depot near Alma School Road looking for supplies and the store’s manager came to her with surprising offer. 

“She goes, ‘We’re gonna build the board for you,’” Craft recalled. 

The unexpected generosity weighed heavily on Craft’s heart and she couldn’t hold back her emotions. 

“And at that point I was so overwhelmed with the care giving and my husband’s disease getting worse that I just burst into tears,” she said.  

A short time later, the store delivered on its promise by presenting an activity board to Craft and her husband.

 It included latches, flaps and even some old pictures of Robert that might trigger memories from his past.  

Craft said the board was bigger and better than anything she was planning to make and Robert has already taken to using it. 

The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation says simple, daily activities can help increase a patient’s sense of stability and reduce disruptive behavior. 

Christina Cornell, a spokeswoman for Home Depot, said employees of its Chandler store are an example of the company’s culture. 

“We’re extremely proud of our associates for living our values and going above and beyond to take care of the Craft family,” Cornell wrote in a statement. 

Craft moved to Chandler a couple years ago and wasn’t expecting to find a community that felt like a small town. She said the Home Depot experience reminded her not to be afraid to ask for help when she needs it. 

“I just have to remember, if I’m drowning, I need to ask and there’s so many kind people that will pull alongside you and say ‘Hey, we’re here to help,’” Craft said.

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