2017 Nominees Section
Rosemary De Cuir
Position: geriatric care consultant
Organization: Alliance Family Advocates
What role does your nominee have in senior care and senior care issues?
ROSEMARY De CUIR received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from California State University, Fullerton in 1986 and began work as a private Geriatric Care Consultant and coach originated when she started to receive urgent requests from colleagues and friends inquiring how to assist their clients - families who found themselves uncertain of how to navigate the complex maze of services for a declining senior relative.
Frequently, Rosemary would be invited by police officers, hospital social workers and those “in the system” to step in to evaluate a senior refusing admittance from established agencies. Her unorthodox and creative approach to obtaining entry into a home in a non-confrontational manner allowed her bridge the gap and connect the senior with sorely-needed assistance, as a result, her work has been dubbed “Therapeutic Theater.”
She has authored numerous articles on caregiving and understanding family dynamics as well as publishing her first book, Coping With Dementia – What Every Caregiver Needs To Know, followed her second book, “The Caregiving Con”- (fall 2017 release). Her efforts received a special recognition from the county of Orange supervisor’s office.
Why should this person be nominated
Rosemary credits her parents for instilling in her the importance of advocacy following the birth of her youngest sibling.
She explains the experience in this way – “I was a typical normal, happy child who enjoyed attention and was, as children are, the center of my universe. Then Laura was born, and at only six years old, I was terribly confused by what was happening – this little person who didn’t look like my “Gerber baby” other sister, a series of hospitalizations, my parents’ worried faces, being sent to stay with friends during a tough period, etc. One night I blurted out that I didn’t understand what was wrong, and my mother explained that there would always be people in the world who needed help and Laura was one such person; that we as a family could all do something – even me, a little girl. I remember every detail of that night and that was the defining moment of my life; I woke up to the fact that I didn’t exist to serve myself but others.”
One example of Rosemarie’s unique compassion concerns “Harold.” When asked to see if she could intervene in a case where medical staff couldn’t convince an elderly man to receive medical care, she called with a gentle request to make sure he knew about “some services free to seniors.” Harold consented.
Harold lived in a large, older, low-income, run-down “rough” apartment. He opened the door skeptically, a once-handsome man in a dirty shirt, smoking a cigarette and holding a malt liquor.
Harold deferred conversing at the moment as his favorite show “Bonanza” was on, so she made small talk during the commercials. When the show was over he opened up about himself and shared some amazing stories about his days as a carefree gigolo of sorts – arm candy to wealthy socialites, dinner companion at galas, etc. He reminisced, “We had so much fun. I looked so great in a tuxedo because I was always tanned from the sun. Then it was gone and now I’m sittin’ in the dark. Not much sun in my life.” We looked at old photographs that served as silent witnesses to these high times, and then Harold grew sad as he talked about the admirers fading away, opportunities vanishing, and his lack of relationships or any real roots. He deeply regretted having led what he saw now as a frivolous life, and he admitted that drinking helped him to forget the pain of knowing that he was a man without a legacy.
She shared with Harold that the good news was that he was still alive and could TODAY build something meaningful. Harold looked dubious, but hopeful. They talked about his options and it didn’t take much convincing to get Harold to agree to having a full physical workup along with depression and alcohol treatment. The hospital team only needed the green light and were marvelous at stepping in to help Harold. His deep self-loathing required some spiritual self-examination and forgiveness, but he was open to speaking with a pastor who could guide him. Rosemarie was able to find a church nearby whose senior pastor instantly agreed to a home visit the next morning. They also discussed the need for him to relocate. She had in mind a particular senior apartment complex with residents who met for coffee and news each morning in the community room with a motherly office manager. A couple of calls and a few days later, she was able to secure an apartment.
After treatment they agreed to discuss how Harold could pay back this debt of gratitude. Once things were in place and their time came to part, Harold presented Rosemarie with several yellow roses (her favorite). The little card, which she now keeps in a special memento drawer, says “Sunshine for sunshine.”
Rosemary is a truly selfless person. She radiates compassion in everything she does. She has experience personal hardships in her life and has chosen to see them as blessings because she see the positive in every situation that she encounters. This world would be a much better place if there were more people like her... She is a true hero to many.