It's an absoluately wonderful program. It gets him out of the house, he gets to socialize. He really, really enjoys it.Linda Toll
Worried about your loved one being home alone while you’re at work? Want to feel reassured that your senior citizen is safe and well cared for while you’re away?
Well, there is a service for you right in your backyard.
The Geauga County Depart-ment on Aging provides Adult Day Services to any Geauga County senior who is in need of “a caring, positive and structured environment during the day due to memory loss, cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s Disease,” according to the DOA website.
To be eligible for the program, the client must be a Geauga County resident, be age 60 or over, and have some kind of diagnosis of a cognitive impairment, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia of any kind, said Adult Day Service Program Coordinator Vickie Krueger.
The services are available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Transportation can be provided to and from the Chardon Senior Center on Ravenwood Drive via the Geauga County Transit.
The senior center provides the only ADS in the county, though there are other department senior centers, located in Middlefield, Thompson, West Geauga and Chagrin Falls.
Krueger said the program was created to let seniors live at their home longer, rather than go to an assisted living facility. It also gives the care providers at home a chance to rest, go to work and get a break.
“It kind of serves two purposes. One, it gives respite to the family caregiver, and it also gives the individual a chance to work on the social, cognitive and physical abilities that they still have,” Krueger said.
Kim Jackson, whose mother, Shirley Klassen, has been in the program for over three years, said it is a nice advantage, especially since she is working away from home.
“It’s a wonderful place transportation has been great it’s reassuring knowing it’s a safe place for her and she is getting picked up and getting home safely,” Jackson said.
She said that it seems like her mother’s disease didn’t progress as quickly.
“She really enjoys going there. It helps her to continue to socialize, and the interactions and exercise help her,” Jackson add-ed. “I’m really happy with it. They have a fabulous staff.”
Clients can come any day of the week for as many days as they want, they just ask that seniors pick the same days each week so they have the same daily group, Krueger said.
“A lot of times, they start out one or two days a week and they end up being more like three to five,” she said. “After a few months, they get to like it, they get up and they’re ready to go, and then they don’t understand why they can’t go on a certain day, so then the families just start adding them. When it becomes a routine, they feel safe in a routine, so once they establish that routine, they like to continue it.”
Linda Toll, whose father, John Toll, is in the adult day program, said her father gets upset on days he can’t go because he loves it so much.
“It’s an absolutely wonderful program, it gets him out of the house, he gets to socialize, he really really enjoys it,” Toll said. “From my standpoint, it gives me four hours to myself to run errands and do things. It makes him feel worthwhile I would recommend it to anyone.”
A typical day of the “social model” program starts with seniors being picked up between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and beginning the day with coffee and socializing, Krueger explained.
There are three activities planned each day, at 10 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 1 p.m., with a hot meal provided at noon, she said, adding events vary from chair activities to group games like Family Feud or Wheel of Fortune, to baking, and arts and crafts.
The seniors take an interest survey assessment when they enter the program to find out what they are into in order to help plan activities, Krueger said.
The groups all stay together throughout the day, but clients are not required to participate in each activity, she said.
“Most of the clients seem to enjoy it, at the end of the day, they’ll be thanking us,” Krueger said. “When we do something, they’re pretty good at saying, ‘Oh hey, I enjoyed that today, that was really nice, I had a really great day today,’ so we get feedback that way.”
Some activities are off-location, with smaller groups, such as trips to exhibits at Century Village Museum in Burton to journeying to the Spire Institute in Mentor, she said.
Between June and October of this year, the program is doing “A Dine Around the World,” with themed visits to a variety of local restaurants, Krueger said, adding there are a lot of activities done together with the regulars at the senior center for special occasions, like big parties and the monthly bingo games.
ADS differ from other regular senior centers in many ways. In particular, the program must maintain a 6:1 or smaller seniors to staff members ratio, so there is more one-on-one contact in this program, Krueger said.
The program is donation-based, so there is no direct billing to the clients, due to the senior services levy, Public Information and Volunteer Coordin-ator William Phil-lips said.
A nursing home would be more costly than living at home and going to ADS, Krueger said.
There is also a monthly newsletter that goes out with information on events and activities, and it will state how many days the client came that month.
Krueger said they get a lot of feedback from families, often saying they really appreciate the extra time.
“It’s also a nice respite for the family member, either going to work or needing to get things done around the house or food shopping,” Phillips said.
They can also get a break for themselves, especially for spouses of clients, Krueger added.
“That downtime is such a necessity, it really is, because you wouldn’t think it would be that difficult, but it really does take a lot out of you,” Phillips said.
Dee Satchell, the daughter of Vivian Redmon, who participates in the program, said she appreciates this “very important service,” since she couldn’t afford to send her mother to a nursing home.
“It’s a life-saver I have nothing but good things to say about it,” Satchell said, adding her mother looks forward to the program and it’s very meaningful.
Satchell noted the community support for the donation-based program.
There are also additional services available to the ADS clients, such as a weekly nurse who takes blood pressure, a massage therapist or a podiatrist.
There is even a hair salon-type service where seniors can get their hair done as well as pedicures and manicures, which Phillips said really saves the family member that extra time of taking them to an appointment.
For more information on ADS and other services, call the Chardon Senior Center at 440-279-2130.
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