When Kathy C. decided the “little by little” forgetting of things was too much and it was time to move her mother Doris back to New Jersey from Florida, SAGE Eldercare was the “family” that the Summit resident called for help.
“I’m an only child so this is hard to do by yourself. That’s why it is important to have the SAGE family to lean on,” she said. “I don’t think we’d have her still with us if I didn’t move her here and have SAGE’s help.”
When Doris was still living in Florida, Kathy would call or visit her mom and became increasingly worried when Doris wouldn’t remember how to get to a favorite store or how to operate the television. She also went from being the driver of her friends to giving up driving. “She seemed more and more not like herself so we tried a new doctor who diagnosed her with dementia,” Kathy said.
But when she moved to New Jersey, Kathy didn’t want Doris to be home alone while she was working. “If she was alone, she might as well be in Florida. I wanted her to be involved with something and safe,” she said.
Although long-involved with the Summit-based non-profit eldercare services provider as a volunteer (for SHIP, Meals on Wheels, and the grocery shopping service), the Spend-A-Day adult day health care program was a new experience for Kathy.
Spend-A-Day gives Kathy and other families, “a wonderful peace of mind,” she said. “She’s taken care of, she’s having fun, she’s eating … Spend-A-Day has a lot of activities, keeps the people happy, and their minds engaged.”
Doris spends three days a week at SAGE’s Spend-A-Day. The other two work days, Kathy’s husband keeps an eye on her. “She knows she’s forgetting things, but she also realizes it is good for her to be there. Spend-A-Day is not just for those deep in the heart of Alzheimer’s or dementia. She is still alert and pretty independent,” Kathy said. “Spend-A-Day is a wonderful, middle-of-the-road – not 100 percent care, but it keeps her active and happy, and the people working there are loving and kind.”
Kathy appreciates that the Spend-A-Day staff are medically trained and attentive, encouraging her mother to remember things, “not like a lesson, but as a friend. We love (the Spend-A-Day nurse) Marilyn and that people are watching out for her as another safeguard; they might catch something early,” she said. It’s also helpful that doctor-ordered physical therapy can be completed at SAGE and not require her to leave work for a separate appointment time.
It’s important to Kathy that SAGE is very clean and she also notices that the Spend-A-Day staff is tuned into her mother’s likes and dislikes, down to the kitchen manager Rosie realizing that Doris doesn’t like spaghetti sauce. “It seems like a silly thing, but it’s important. She’s attuned to her and the Spend-A-Day staff realizes she still needs her dignity.”
The support of other Spend-A-Day families is also noticeable. Kathy first realized that the Spend-A-Day program was working for her mother when they were shopping in Summit and another Spend-A-Day family called across the store to Doris and gave her a big hug. “I knew this was going to be okay because she’d made a friend at SAGE,” she said “The bottom line is, I have peace knowing she’s taken care of. I feel secure knowing she’s at SAGE.”
For more information about the Spend-A-Day adult day health care program, please call 908.598.5520. Also, a Spend-A-Day Open House is scheduled for Thursday, September 28, 2-3:30 pm, 290 Broad Street, Summit. The public is invited for refreshments, entertainment by vocalist Rhonda Denet, and Spend-A-Day tours.
Since 1954, SAGE Eldercare has been helping make the communities it serves amazing places to age. The non-profit organization provides a wide array of information, support, and services designed to help individuals lead the most independent and active lives possible. From helping with errands and delivering Meals on Wheels, to exercise classes, community programs and support groups, Medicare counseling, care planning, an adult day health care center, and home health care, as well as the SAGE Resale Shop and Furniture Restoration Workshop, SAGE’s expertise helps older adults remain independent in their own homes. SAGE is committed to being the leading provider of programs and services to meet the changing needs of older adults, their families, and caregivers in Union, Essex, Morris, and Somerset Counties. For more information, please call 908.273.5550 or visit www.sageeldercare.org.
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PHOTO: Summit resident Kathy C. and her mother enjoy one of their favorite days at SAGE Eldercare’s Spend-A-Day adult day health care program, the spring prom. “It is important to have the SAGE family to lean on,” Kathy said. “I don’t think we’d have her still with us if I didn’t move her here and have SAGE’s help.”