You may have heard a lot about Day Break lately due to the talk of a new facility. You may not realize what adult day services are and that we have been breaking the fun barrier for 22 years.
Day Break is a safe haven for those who cannot spend the day alone. It is an environment that promotes activity and care for the individual.
But, you may be wondering, who are the people that attend adult day services? Are they unhealthy and weak? Are they low income and needy? Are they people so progressed in illness that they no longer communicate or belong in normal circles? Or are they people like you and me?
People that I have been honored to meet and become friends with at Day Break were teachers, bankers, college students, mechanical engineers, physical therapists, husbands, wives and parents. The difference between then and now is that they need help with certain activities of daily living.
Are they unhealthy and weak? Some come to us after a stroke or a fall needing a little bit of extra help. This extra help can be the difference between remaining at home or going to long-term care. People are encouraged through social interaction, encouragement toward proper physical exercise and receiving a balanced diet.
Are they low income and needy? People from all economic backgrounds attend Day Break. An hourly fee is charged according to income; nobody is too rich or too poor to use the service. There are programs to help with the fee. A scholarship program is available for those that are struggling to make ends meet. There are income requirements for the scholarship and participants are asked to pay part of the hourly fee, applications can be picked up at the Day Break office. Day Break has a contract with the VA to assist veterans.
Are they so progressed in illness that they no longer communicate or belong in normal circles? This one is a little trickier. We do serve people with dementia. The use of the program may be for the benefit of a caregiver that needs some time off. We will continue to help people until the day our service is no longer appropriate for them.
Day Break participants are required to pivot transfer with the assistance of one. Sometimes, I stand in our Senior Center dining room and look at Day Break compared to everyone else. I wonder if others look at us thinking, “They are the ones that need help” or in the back of their minds, “I hope I am never a part of that group.” No one wants to be dependent on others for day-to-day living. But sometimes, life throws a curve ball and we have to ask for help. Most people in Day Break are challenged with something that threatens their independence. This threat may be a small as not being able to take a bath at home. Day Break has a bathing facility with handicap walk in shower and a hydrotherapy bath tub. We have staff to assist with bathing and safety concerns. The hydrotherapy is great for circulation and overall rejuvenation.
I am very serious about Day Breakers enjoying themselves to the point of breaking the fun barrier. We are about people, choices, laughing and competitive old fashioned fun. We have adapted games to our liking, change the rules according to mood and daily challenge each other. The people here are genuine friends looking forward to each other’s company.
Are people at Day Break like me and you? Absolutely! They are anyone’s grandma or piano teacher or friend.
Guest columnist Barb Blue is the director of the Day Break program at the Sheridan Senior Center. “Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community. It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.”