BY DEBORAH MOON
Adult Day Services resume at Cedar Sinai Park July 1.
Before COVID restrictions closed the program in March 2020, about 18 seniors a day enjoyed socialization, activities, games and good food. Thanks to support from the state and CSP, the adult day staff are poised to relaunch the program that is both a respite for caregivers and a boon for seniors facing cognitive changes.
During the pandemic, the state subsidized adult day programs that did not lay off staff and that kept in touch with families. CSP shifted Nancy Heckler from her role as Adult Day Services Director to Life Enrichment Director for the campus. Nancy brought her three full-time adult day staff along to provide one-on-one activities and socialization to CSP residents during pandemic restrictions that kept families and volunteers from visiting. She also stayed in touch with day service families via an e-newsletter, phone calls and videos.
“It really was a win-win all the way around,” says Nancy. “It was a win because Cedar Sinai Park really needed a lot of one-on-one people – our residents were in their rooms and no family. So my folks just amped it up – they were doing Zoom calls, they were playing cards and games. Now we have my adult day staff coming back to the day program. It’s a perfect time because families are starting to be able to come into the building, and we’re starting to slowly get in volunteers.”
Nancy said day service families are delighted to see the program reopen.
“You feel the relief through the emails (from families),” says Nancy. “One woman wrote, ‘Mom has really missed her friends; another woman emailed, ‘My husband needs to be with people other than me;’ and one caregiver said, ‘I really, really need a break.’”
While many family caregivers want an adult day program as respite for themselves, Nancy says the program is just as important for the participants.
“Research is showing the benefits of socialization for folks living with dementia,” says Nancy. “Less depression, they eat better, they sleep better, they have higher levels of self-esteem.”
“I have folks come in with maybe little facial affect, but they are tapping their toes or maybe singing along, or watching the crossword puzzle as it’s developing or giggling with their neighbor,” she says. “That’s all engagement. That’s the beauty of being together.”
All the participants are adults with rich pasts, and Nancy and the staff treat them as adults and engage them in fun, intelligent activities. Participants can join the program from one to five days. Music, exercise, word games and eating lunch with friends are part of every day. Gardening, watercolor and bingo are other popular activities.
Lunch and snacks are prepared by CSP’s food service staff. Participants can choose from the entrees being served in residents dining halls, or they can special order favorites such as a grilled cheese or a tuna sandwich.
This video youtube.com/watch?v=EXOGhBi6Dfc gives a taste of a day at CSP Adult Day Services.
About half of the pre-pandemic participants are returning. Sadly, many passed away during the pandemic, though none from COVID. Therefore, the re-opening program has a few spaces available, and Nancy has begun interviewing potential participants. (See details below.)
CSP Adult Day Services
HOURS: 8:30 am-6 pm, Monday-Friday, beginning July 1
RATES: Short day (up to 6 hours): $95
Long day (more than 6 hours): $115
CAPACITY: 18 people
LOCATION: Cedar Sinai Park, 6125 SW Boundary St.
CONTACT: Director Nancy Heckler at 503-535-4403 or firstname.lastname@example.org