Veteran shares career skills in Day Break program

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From the Sheridan Senior Center

SHERIDAN — Dennis Powers has a unique relationship with the Sheridan Senior Center’s Day Break program. The U.S. Air Force veteran is not only using Day Break’s services, he is sharing some of his career skills while there.

Powers, a physical therapist, held a 25-year career at the Sheridan Veterans Affairs Medical Center as a recreational specialist and director. His work supported veterans in recovery. He planned activities that included fishing trips, card tournaments, softball games and casino nights. Through his career, Powers kept things organized and coordinated recruiting and directing volunteers needed keep the program going.

“I was the ‘go-to’ guy for fun,” Powers said.

Today, Powers is helping to keep things rolling with the fun activities offered at Day Break.

“His knowledge is invaluable to the staff,” said Barb Blue, director of Day Break. “He is our official Bingo caller and crossword puzzle manager. Dennis continues to keep things organized, even in his retirement.”

The Sheridan Senior Center’s Day Break program is special. There are only four adult day facilities in Wyoming that provide services for adults and their families.

While mealtime assistance, bathing, toileting and personal care services are provided by staff, an important objective throughout each day is to have fun. Blue and the Day Break team design each day to incorporate each person’s personal interests. Powers not only plays, he engages others to play, also.

Day Break services are available to adults over the age of 18 years but many are not aware of a contractual relationship with the VA.

When Powers and his wife, Theo, visited the Day Break program, Blue asked if Powers was a veteran.

“It’s an important question,” Blue said. “Day Break works with the VA to keep those who have served our country safe and among friends.”

It was a match not only for Powers, but also to Theo.

“This time away from home is a relief to family caregivers and gives them the freedom to work, handle personal business, or just relax knowing their loved one is safe,” Blue said.

“I have been trying to sell the concept of adult day services for years. It is a hard sell,” Blue said. “We go through our adult lives making decisions and being independent. And then something goes haywire and we are unable to care for ourselves. Then the idea of adult day services may seem the answer, but who really wants to go? No one. These feelings are very understandable, but don’t give up on the idea too fast.”

Tips for introducing someone to Day Break

From Barb Blue director of Day Break Adult Services

Are you caring for a loved one? Adult day services are an excellent option for caregivers and those who are often alone. Services are available Monday through Friday and a schedule can be customized for your needs from part time to full time. Here are some tips for introducing loved ones to the program:

• Tour the facility. See what activities might interest your family member. The Day Break staff is very effective in persuading reluctant people to attend and encouraging participation.

• Some people see Day Break as a “club.” Others attend to help others, as a volunteer would.

• Schedule your family member’s visit when there is an activity that they might enjoy, like music or exercise class. Some attend for a particular activity, such as Bingo or entertainment offered in the dining room.

• Let us know if you are a veteran.

• Take one step at a time. Use a try-it-and-see approach. The object of the first visit is simply to have the person agree to return.

• Get the right person to take him or her the first time. Choose someone who can usually get your family member to do things.

• Reinforce the positive.

By |May 15th, 2017|

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