When two people are married and eventually live a long life together, they never expect that after successful careers or raising families the phrase ?in sickness and in health? would come to mean so much. Many couples experience an illness affecting one or the other spouse, creating difficult roads and decisions ahead. Whether a husband is suffering from Alzheimer?s, or a wife is physically unable to care for herself independently, many couples choose to care for their loved one at home. This decision, although a loving one, can cause caregivers to become overly stressed, and the afflicted person to be socially, physically, and mentally withdrawn.
ADULT DAY Centers are community-based services designed to provide therapeutic activities, safety and socialization for persons suffering from Alzheimer?s disease or other related disorders. Karol Cain, the program coordinator of The Caring Place Adult Day Center in Alpena is aware of the need for a similar program in Presque Isle County. Cain, who has 12 years of experience with adult day services, is also a public health nurse with the Health Department District No. 4. ?I am volunteering my time to the Rogers City Area Seniors (RCAS) to help develop a survey to identify the need or desire of this type of service in the local area,? said Cain. ?I am a strong supporter of adult day services, and I have seen first hand how it has helped people ? both the caregiver and the program participant.?
In order to determine the need of an adult day service in Rogers City and the surrounding local areas, Cain and the RCAS have compiled a survey, which is provided to the public as an insert in The Advance (Aug. 3). The survey, bright green in color, can be completed and returned to the Rogers City Senior Center, located at 131 East Superior Street. The surveys can either be mailed or dropped off to the Senior Center, Rite Aid Pharmacy, or McLean Pharmacy, no later than August 15. ?The decision on whether to move forward with this type of service in Rogers City and Presque Isle County is based partially on the results of the returned surveys,? said Cain, ?so, it is imperative that people respond by August 15.? Cain believes the importance of adult day services lies in the socialization opportunities it provides to both the caregiver and the cared for.
?EVERYONE NEEDS socialization, and the need to feel successful at tasks, even when we are frail, infirmed, or have short term memory loss,? said Cain. ?As the aging process occurs, people can become more isolated, depressed, and tend to either sleep or watch T.V. all day.? Cain said adult day services counteracts this result of aging by offering an opportunity for people to have physical and emotional stimulation, as well as the feeling of belonging to their community, and simply having fun. ?Just as importantly, these services give a person?s caregiver a chance to recoup, rest, and relax?in order to continue on with the caregiving role,? said Cain. ?Many time the caregiver becomes ill?because of the stress, which can cause premature nursing home placement for the one being cared for.? Adult day services were offered in Rogers City at Westminster Church nearly five or six years ago, but due to a lack of participation to program was forced to close. After the center closed, people in the local area began to utilize the The Caring Place services in Alpena. Cain said caregivers enjoy the availability of the service in order to simply bring their family member to the center while they run errands or go shopping for several hours.
?THE GOALS of adult day services is two-fold,? said Cain. ?We want to provide fun and socialization for the client, and time off for the caregiver.? The success of surrounding area programs is an indication of how successful a local program could be. The Caring Place in Alpena has been in existence for more than 11 years, and currently has 25 clients enrolled for services offered five days a week, eight hours per day. A similar center in Petoskey has been up and running even longer than The Caring Place, and is just as successful. Cain stresses to readers the importance of completing the surveys, and returning them by August 15. She said those interested in the services should then watch the local newspaper for further developments. ?No one can be a 24 hour a day, seven day per week caregiver without getting a break,? said Cain, ?especially if you are caring for a person with Alzheimer?s who is at risk for unsafe wandering, poor judgment, or repetitive behavior.? Cain added that caring for an ill family member takes a lot of love, and can frequently cause a considerable amount of stress.
?Everyone dearly loves the person they are caring for, whether it is a parent or a spouse,? said Cain. ?They cannot do the job effectively without an occasional break from the stress.?