Adult Day Care Centers and Many families would prefer to care for an elderly loved one at home. However, without assistance, the experience of caregiving can often be overwhelming. A Home Away From Home is a unique adult day care program that provides care for frail, physically or cognitively impaired seniors, including persons with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Because daycare programs are typically more affordable than “in-home” care, they are helpful for families who look for alternatives to nursing home placement.
The program is administered by Michele Quigley, who decided to enter the field of Alzheimer’s care after her own mother died from the disease. “I wanted to create a program that I would feel comfortable leaving my own mother at,” says Quigley. Her hope is to provide a program that allows elderly clients to be cared for in an environment that is similar to home at an affordable cost. The program is designed for seniors who have safety issues if left alone, need assistance with structuring daily activities, or have extended periods of isolation and loneliness when the primary caregiver is absent from the home.
Unlike other adult day programs, A Home Away From Home’s program is offered in a quaint south Redlands house and provides participants with all the comforts of home. Comfortable seating, a large kitchen and dining area, activity areas, and a quiet room with reclining chairs for resting all add to the relaxed atmosphere of A Home Away From Home. A distinguishing feature of the senior day care program is the small group setting, with a maximum of six participants at any time. The home setting and small group size allows A Home Away From Home to minimize the confusion and discomfort that many elderly experience in a typical day care program.
Adult Day Care Centers and their Programs
“Adult day programs are usually run in large, recreation type rooms that lack comfort,” explains Quigley. “Also, the average program usually has many participants which create confusion and anxiety for many elderly persons. Those types of surroundings are usually not conducive to a peaceful atmosphere,” she adds.
In addition to the cozy home environment, beautiful outdoor areas allow participants to enjoy outdoor activities or to simply rest in peaceful sitting areas. The fully enclosed backyard has a charming veranda where participants can enjoy their morning or afternoon snacks while listening to the gentle water sounds of a nearby fountain. A walking path, shaded yard swing and raised gardening beds all help to create a calming ambiance.
“Most people do not understand just how important spending a little amount of time outdoors each day is for seniors,” explained Quigley. “Sunshine has the ability to affect our moods, and the lack of sunlight can contribute to depression. Short periods of exposure to sunlight helps seniors feel more cheerful; in addition to helping them feel more alert and focused. But one of the greatest benefits is that it helps to improve the overall quality of sleep in seniors. We encourage our seniors to spend some time enjoying the outdoors because we recognize the benefits.”
Throughout the day, Quigley and her helpers allow participants to engage in whatever activities they enjoy, with choices that include arts and crafts, table and card games, memory games, music, and opportunities for gardening and cooking activities. Their goal is to provide as many pleasurable options as possible.