We recently spoke with Pat Neubert, whose husband Jim is a participant at Voyages Adult Day Center
Courtesy Discover Goodwill
Pat, how did you hear about adult day centers?
Jim has Parkinson’s disease and I could see where we were headed. I contacted the Area Agency on Aging and they informed me about the service. My daughter researched all the adult day centers and after visiting them; talking with the staff; guests and families––we decided Voyages was the best place for Jim.
How long has Jim been a guest of Voyages?
Jim has been attending since May 2010. The first couple of times he wasn’t too sure about it, but after the third or fourth time he came home and said, “I had a good time today.” I wish we had started sooner. I have always been a go-getter, I like to stay busy and I thought I could do it all myself. To be honest, I was a little afraid to ask for help. My son would suggest that I get some assistance and my response was always “not yet.” I finally got to the end of my rope; you know your body starts to talk to you, and providing care for someone 24/7 is exhausting.
How has attending an adult day center helped Jim?
It has been the best thing for both of us! Jim loves to meet and visit with people. It gives him a social outlet. Before Voyages, I could see him struggling. He was getting bored and even though we are very close, when you are with someone every minute of the day, you can run a little short of new things to talk about. Now he comes home with stories and new topics of conversation. I really think the place exercises his mind and keeps him sharp.
How has attending an adult day center helped you?
Well, my original plan was to get back into sewing and quilting. I haven’t done that as much as I planned, but I have been able to complete some projects around the house and get together with friends. I have complete peace of mind that he is comfortable, having fun and well taken care of.
Thank you for your time, Pat.
I just want to add that I strongly recommend adult day centers. I have already talked to several individuals about how much of a lifesaver this service has been to us. If through this article I encourage one person to stop trying to do it all themselves and seek help, I am happy. It just might help your relationship with your loved one, too. The other day Jim said to me, “I really missed you today.” We’ve been married a long time and I don’t hear that every day!
Sometimes caregivers may find it difficult to get their family member to attend. Here are some helpful tips:
• Prepare yourself first. Schedule a tour to see what might interest your family member and discuss potential obstacles.
• Use a “try-it-and-see” approach. The objective of the first visit is to have your loved one agree to return for a day. Don’t push too hard. Start with a few half days. Two visits a week is recommended for those with memory loss. When the routine becomes comfortable, you can add days. It usually takes a few weeks to adjust.
• Provide a good reason. Some people attend because they see the center as a “club” or a “class.” Some go for a particular activity or to be with new friends. It may help to have the doctor and other family/friends support you. Also, try to schedule your family member’s visit when there is an activity (e.g., music, crafts, exercise or discussion) they might enjoy.
• Be firm. Initially your loved one may enjoy going but complain of being unhappy. Don’t argue, assume that you will return. Try saying, “They are expecting you today,” or “I want you to go for a little while.”
• Reinforce the positive. Support any positive experiences that your family member has or that you or the adult day center staff noticed.
(Information compiled from alz.org/norcal)