LAKEWOOD RANCH — As Phyllis Troy sits at a table at Windsor Reflections Memory Care center, a facility for Alzheimer’s disease patients and individuals affected by memory impairment, she throws her hands up, as her hand of cards breaks the count of 21.
Resident Joanne Rubin glances toward the pile of cards and poker chips in front of her.
“What am I getting?” she asks.
Troy leans across the table for a closer look.
“You’re making money,” she says laughing, as her partner, Joe Kopper, collects Rubin’s winning cards from the table.
Troy, who has lived in Lakewood Ranch since 1997, began volunteering at Windsor Reflections after the facility opened about two years ago. Kopper joined her about a year later, and the couple now visits with residents every Tuesday afternoon.
Both had parents affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Troy remembers how her father began showing signs of the disease when he was about 80 years old.
Troy’s mother became his caretaker, and, eventually, Troy’s father was placed in an assisted-living facility.
“When he had it, they had nothing like this for him,” Troy says. “They didn’t know what to do with it.”
Troy would bring children’s games to play with her father. She plays similar games with Reflections residents now, too.
“It gives them something to do,” Troy, 85, says. “They love to play games. They do great at art projects.
“It’s so gratifying (being here),” she says. “I wouldn’t miss a Tuesday for anything.”