Support and Compassion for our Seniors with Disabilities and Their Families
by Catholic Charities – June 8, 2021
As our world begins to unfurl again, many of us can rejoice in resuming the activities we have kept away from for so long. For the seniors and adults with disabilities who attend Catholic Charities’ Adult Day Programs, the recent re-opening of in-person services was abundant cause for celebration. As Patty Clement, Catholic Charities Director of Client Services, greeted a group of beaming attendees on their first day back, one senior’s daughter said to Patty, through tears of joy, “I can’t believe you’re open, I can’t believe you’re doing this for us again.”
To say the Adult Day Program is influential in the lives of participants and their caregivers would be an understatement. For the participants– seniors living with Alzheimer’s and dementia and people living with disabilities– the program offers opportunities for physical and mental stimulation, socialization, companionship, nutrition, and a wealth of engaging activities to enrich their lives. Because these individuals need constant supervision, the support is invaluable to their caregivers, usually family members with fulltime jobs, or their spouse. While their loved ones are in the compassionate hands of the Catholic Charities team, caregivers have a few rare hours of respite.
When COVID hit, it was difficult to offer the same support via an online platform; for many clients, it just didn’t translate. The team organized a meal distribution program and sent activity packets and gift cards for financial help. They monitored clients’ health through wellness calls, moved the vital caregiver support group online, and increased the frequency and hours due to demand. Re-opening both programs May 10th, following all Licensing, CDC and Department of Public Health guidelines, Patty and her team celebrate being able to serve clients in person again. Although the cohorts are currently smaller than normal, the team looks forward to reaching full capacity again soon.
For 31 impactful years, Patty has been leading licensed non-medical adult day programs for Catholic Charities. Individuals attend for varying lengths of time; some stay for a few months or years, while others have been attending for decades. As the program specializes in working with individuals who have middle to late-stage dementia, it is small in design, serving 20-30 attendees each day at their two locations in San Francisco and San Mateo counties. The team incorporates fun activities while also challenging clients in ways that help raise them to higher levels of functioning. “Our goal is to help them succeed in the wide range of activities they do, giving them a sense of accomplishment that buoys their confidence and well-being,” says Clement. “Together with their families, we help stabilize those that join us, giving them dignity and the opportunity for a long and healthy life after having a dementia diagnosis.”
To community members who may not know that this kind of help exists, Clement explains, “we want people to know that these services are out there, and that it’s not only okay to ask for support, but also necessary.”
“It really does take a village to raise our children, but it also takes a village to care for our elderly.”
Please click here to donate to the Adult Day Program at Catholic Charities, and support our cherished elders and their loved ones.