When Middlebury, IN resident Larson Manifold’s step‐father, Tom, was diagnosed with
Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, the family didn’t know what to expect.
“We knew he was becoming generally more forgetful and having some difficulty with things
around the house,” Larson said. “But we had no idea how challenging things would become over the
next few years.”
At the time of his diagnosis, Tom lived alone at his residence in Warsaw, IN, but neighbors and
relatives who kept a close eye on him became increasingly concerned in the months that followed.
“At first, it was just minor things like forgetting where he put his glasses. But it wasn’t long
before he started having problems maintaining his house, cooking and managing his bills,” Larson said. “We knew something more had to be done.”
With help from his family, Tom moved to an apartment in Bluffton, IN, where he could be
closer to friends and family. While this was a step in the right direction, according to Larson, his
disease continued to progress and it was not long before he needed more help than his family caregivers
“It was a very difficult time for everyone,” Larson said. “We were all trying so hard to allow
him to live independently, because this was important to him, but he wasn’t managing his medications
well and he was losing weight because he wasn’t eating the meals we were having delivered to him. It
was a sad time.”
Faced with medication, nutrition and safety issues, Larson and his wife, Amy, a Registered Nurse, began looking into nursing home and assisted living facilities for Tom. But just before making the decision to move him into a long‐term care facility, Larson and Amy found an agency that would send a caregiver into his apartment and provide assistance so he could remain at home.
“This was a God‐send,” Larson said.
Tom’s caregiver cooked meals, shopped, cleaned, helped him run errands, provided medication reminders, helped him get around and, most importantly, Larson said, provided companionship.
“He loved to talk about politics, news and reminisce about good times like golfing with his
buddies, boating on Chapman Lake, and going to (Ft. Wayne) Komet hockey games.”
Although managing the disease was still a struggle for Tom and his family, Larson said, with the
assistance of the caregiver, he was able to remain at home where he wanted to be.
Seeing what a positive impact home care had on his step‐father, Larson and Amy started Firefly Home Care in Middlebury, IN in 2012.
“Although the home care that we received for my step‐dad was very helpful, we saw
some significant opportunities for improvement – especially in the area of communication and
coordination of care,” Larson said.
Larson’s idea for better care coordination began from another personal experience he had
when his mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and then died from the disease in 2004. Since then,
Amy and him have cared for several other family members with serious illnesses and have noticed the
need for better communication among families and healthcare providers.
“We’re lucky to have so many great treatments and medications in the US, but sometimes the
difference between poor and excellent care comes down to how well everyone is communicating,”
Larson said. “Having the right information at the right time can empower patients, caregivers and
healthcare providers to make better decisions. And in the end, just knowing the facts and having a plan
can be a huge stress reducer.”
Firefly Home Care provides assistance with activities of daily living and provides resources and information its clients can use to make good decisions about home care. The company currently serves Elkhart and St. Joseph counties in Indiana. Opened in 2016, Firefly Home Health is a state-licensed home healthcare agency that provides nursing services in the same service area.