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Adult Day Services – socialization, care and support

Heather and BettyAdult Day Services – a family caregiver perspective
At Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS), you could say we are in the transitions business.  We have the privilege of meeting many older adults and their families and they commonly come to us during some sort of life transition.  Sarah Jones, Recreation and Adult Day Program Director at Boutwells Landing in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota has the honor of helping people navigate many of these transitions. We recently sat down with Sarah to gain a better understanding of what adult day programs provide and to meet some of the people she serves!
 
Sarah highlights Heather Ruggero, daughter of Betty Hubal, who exemplifies a family caregiver supporting her children and her parents at the same time. Serving as the primary caregiver for a loved one requires a significant investment of time and energy. Sarah notes, family members who already work full time and take on the role of caregiving quickly find that they are unable to provide the necessary time and attention to both.
 
The role of a family caregiver
Heather’s mother Betty was not ready to leave the home she had lived in for the past 50 years. Heather remembers her mother sometimes speaking of being lonely and wanting company. She felt called to provide the love, care and support that her mother needed and wanted to ensure that Betty could stay within the comfort of her own home. So, Heather and her family of four moved in!
 
Once they made the move, Heather soon discovered that Betty would need more assistance and socialization than she could feasibly provide. Heather remembers, “It became clear that Mom needed more than physical help, she needed things to look forward to and activities that challenged her without overwhelming her.”
 
Looking for support
Heather explored support options and a social worker referred her to the Adult Day Program at Boutwells Landing. At first, Heather remembers feeling skeptical, wondering if the staff and other participants at the program would love and accept her mother the way that she would. Heather shares, “I am happy to report that my skepticism was unfounded. My mom was embraced by staff and fellow clients and has new and fun challenges that expand her horizons. The daily interaction has improved her cognitive ability and she no longer looks to our family as her only entertainment and caregivers but once again as her grandchildren, son and daughter.”
 
Something to look forward to
Four days a week, Betty is picked up at her home for the quick trip to Boutwells Landing. She crosses the threshold with a big “hooray!” excited to start her day. Each day is filled with a variety of activities including: daily exercise, visits from the children at the nearby daycare center, singing, crafts, trips to the Boutwells movie theater (complete with popcorn), birthday parties, games and “Happy Paws” pet visits just to name a few. Heather notes that beyond physical and cognitive improvements, the programs and activities each day give her mother something to look forward to.
 
Rest and reassurance
Heather believes that the resident assistants at Boutwells Landing are a gift from God. Family members can rest assured that their loved ones are well taken care of whether they are heading to work or running errands. Heather can now work with the peace of mind that her mother is in a safe space surrounded by people who love and care for her. The caregivers are trained to provide assistance with personal cares and medication administration, caring for the whole person. Heather knows that if her mother experiences a change in condition, the staff will notify her immediately. They take the time to share Betty’s accomplishments, celebrating the triumphs and noting any areas of concern.
 
Although Betty has a new place to call home in her assisted living apartment, she continues to see the value of the activities at Boutwells Landing Adult Day Program. By the end of the day she is ready to head home, happy with a full day of activity and socialization. Instead of staying in her apartment alone, Betty spends her days with friends engaging in activities that fill her heart and pique her interests. She returns to the comfort of her own home, ready for rest, but eager to wake up the next morning for the next visit to her circle of friends.
 
For more information or to inquire about availability, contact Sarah Jones, Adult Day Program Director at 651.275.5801 or email sjones@preshomes.org.

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