May 21, 2018
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Adult day programs a reprieve to those caring for dementia sufferers

By Carol Higgins Taylor, Senior Beat

Caring for someone with dementia is a special kind of stressful. But there is a way to relieve the strain, a few hours at a time.

Adult day programs ensure that the attending seniors are socially active, given delicious, well-balanced snacks and are mentally engaged at their individual skill level. And, they are enjoying themselves. All the while, the caregiver is enjoying some much needed personal time.

“Many seniors are resistant to attending adult day programs but once they do, most love it and wonder why they didn’t do it sooner,” said Josephine Cirrinone, family caregiver navigator case manager at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. “These community-based programs are designed for older adults with thinking, memory, and physical impairments. These services also provide family caregivers with respite.”

Comprehensive adult day services, depending on whether they are a social or medical model, provide a safe, protective setting. In a medical model, participants receive health monitoring by trained staff and other support services. In a social model this may not be available. In both models, attendees enjoy social activities, nutritious meals and snacks designed to meet their specific dietary needs.

“Some people are unaware of the high level of sophistication of the service and care provided by adult day services,” Cirrinone said. “These programs help keep individuals who need chronic care at home, out in the community, with family and friends for as long as possible. Some clients have shown mild improvement in their conditions due to the social stimulation and change of scene.”

Adult day services generally operate Monday through Friday but some have Saturday hours. Fees vary depending on the program and services provided. Partners in Caring, a program of Eastern Area Agency on Aging may be able to assist caregivers with paying some of the fees involved.

So, how do you find an adult day program that’s right for your situation?

Cirrinone offers a few questions to ask when inquiring about a facility:

• Does staff prepare individualized assessments of each new client?

• Are medications administered, in a medical model?

• Does the center provide a variety of interesting social activities?

• Are staff members trained in emergency procedures?

• Are there staff members who specialize in working with clients with dementia and memory loss?

• Does the facility have a sprinkler system?

• Is transportation provided to and from the center?

• Is the center clean, well maintained, and free of odors?

Ask staff to see latest inspection results or state survey and as for overall quality, look for a caring and concerned staff, happy, active participants and a welcoming feeling for the caregiver.

For more information on adult day services and other questions that should be asked, call Eastern Area Agency on Aging.

“Families can take comfort in the knowledge that the person in their care is being well cared for and enjoying themselves,” said Cirrinone.

There are stress relieving properties, she added, because caregivers can take care of some of their own necessary personal business without worry or can just spend a little time doting on themselves for a change.

Respite care can prevent caregivers from burning out. Remember, caring for yourself can be one of the best gifts you can give someone else one. Being at your best ensures them your best care.

Ah the dream of going to Italy: enjoying the food, the wine, the scenery, the romance. Collette Vacations is presenting “Discover Tuscany” at 2 p.m., Thursday, March 1, at the EAAA offices.

View a beautiful presentation of this extraordinary locale and enjoy delicious refreshments with an Italian flair. Highlights of the presentation include Rome, Assisi, Winery Tour and Florence. Rich in history, taking a visual tour of Tuscany can chase away the winter doldrums.

Space is limited so call EAAA at 941-2865 to reserve your spot.

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging.

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