The most pressing problem Baby Boomers face today, when they go to work, is the daily care of their minimally impaired parent. A recent study found that approximately 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the previous 12 months, and 85% of caregivers are relatives of the care recipient.*
When caring for a loved one there are several options available; most often people often think of these: a) long term care facilities; b) home care; c) home with a family caregiver; or d) home alone. Few are aware that adult day care centers are a non-residential facility that supports the health, nutritional, social support and daily living needs of adults in a professionally staffed group setting. Adult day care centers provide a coordinated program of professional and compassionate services for adults in a community-based group setting while serving as an emerging provider of transitional care; designed to provide social and some health services to adults who need supervised care in a safe place outside the home during the day. Participation in adult day centers may prevent re-hospitalizations and may delay admission to residential long term care facilities. For participants who would otherwise stay at home alone, the social stimulation and recreational activities may improve or maintain physical and cognitive function. For caregivers, adult day centers provide much needed respite care, enabling them to work or to have a break from their caregiving responsibilities.
Away From Home Adult Day Care is such a facility located in Port Jefferson Station. Elisa Bellido, Director of Away From Home said in an interview this week: “People should see this as an exciting answer to their caregiving options. Our 4,000 square foot state of the art facility’s mission is to ensure dignity, respect and well-being to all participants. We offer a comprehensive program which provides functionally impaired individuals with socialization; supervision; monitoring; personal care; and nutrition.”
Away From Home is designed to feel like a home, according to Ms. Bellido. They offer special areas designated for naps, reading, television watching, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy with plans for future expansion. Ms. Bellido shared that “our participants walk out of here happy, saying this is my home away from home.”
Daily activities include arts and crafts, games, music, gardening, cognitive and speech enhanced activities, coupled with socialization. We provide breakfast, a hot lunch, and an afternoon snack. The facility only hires professionally trained and certified staff, as well certified nursing assistants to care for their participants.
“Because we are social animals, we like to be readily accepted. Therefore, when you find yourself with peers who share the same challenges you do, we tend to be more open and engaged in all activities. At Away From Home there is no judgement, instead there is support.” Ms. Bellido said. “People do better within a peer group setting, they take pride and enjoy having fun, accomplishing tasks and communicating with peers.”
Away From Home was created to serve as respite and peace of mind for caregivers. “My mother and father were seriously ill; I had to take care of them while holding a full time job (65 miles away from home) and two small children,” Ms. Bellido said. “I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed and worried. I vowed to one day help others in my shoes. For me, helping keep seniors at home with their loved ones for as long as possible is personal.”
For those struggling with the decision to take care of a loved one, Ms. Bellido has a message: “There are options. You don’t have to place your family member in a long term facility. (Adult day care) brings your loved one happiness in a safe and nurturing environment.”
For more information about Away From Home Adult Day Care visit www.afhadc.org or call (631) 743-9200
*Data from June 2015 report called “Caregiving in the U.S.”, conducted by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving