Gardens man caring for wife with Alzheimer’s amazed by support

Anna Roberts, Meals on Wheels volunteer Wendy Dunlop and Derry Roberts pose for a photo in the couple's Palm Beach Gardens home. Their three-year-old Shih Tzu, Oakley, gets also gets food and veterinary care through the Animeals program.

Anna Roberts, Meals on Wheels volunteer Wendy Dunlop and Derry Roberts pose for a photo in the couple’s Palm Beach Gardens home. Their three-year-old Shih Tzu, Oakley, gets also gets food and veterinary care through the Animeals program.

Derry Roberts was struggling to care for wife Anna, who’s in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, when a “godsend” in the form of Meals on Wheels came along.

He started getting meals from the nonprofit organization delivered to their Palm Beach Gardens home five days a week about four months ago. They even provided dog food and grooming for the couple’s playful, three-year-old Shih Tzu, Oakley.

Since they were featured in a Palm Beach Post story about Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches’ expansion into northern Palm Beach County in March, they’ve received an outpouring of support, Derry Roberts, 80, said.

Derry Roberts used to work as a lobby ambassador at Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa in his retirement, and they began providing him with meals for Saturdays and Sundays. The staff offered to deliver them, but he goes there for lunch and picks up the meals Friday afternoons.

“I get hugs from everybody there that I worked with three or four years,” he said. “I’m getting so much help now, it’s unbelievable.”

A caregiver comes to help with Anna seven days a week. One provided through Palm Beach PACE, an affiliate of MorseLife, stays with Anna Wednesday evenings so Derry can run to his caregiver meetings.

Having a caregiver come every day has given him back the ability to attend Trinity United Methodist Church. The couple has been married for more than 50 years and went to church just about every Sunday, but it eventually became too difficult for Derry to get Anna in the car.

He walked in the door for the first time in about two months this past Sunday. The music was playing, and he got a cup of coffee.

“The tears – I couldn’t hold back. Just the feeling I felt when I got back to church was fantastic,” Derry Roberts said.

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