Caregivers get a time out — courtesy of Adult Day Center

Join the club! Let a client or loved one be enriched and nourished and take a breather.

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Take a break and let your loved one be nurtured for awhile by others. A pause in caregiving can help you and that in turn helps your loved one remain home.

"We give caregivers four to five hours to relax, be themselves and not worry about their clients," said Audrey Renaud, program manager at the Adult Day Center. The ADC is a program of the Center at the Park, 720 Sprague Ave. and located in the Center. It's a relaxing, safe environment for adults 45 and older, who are under the care of the positive, cheerful staff. "We give our clients loving care, give them attention, do crafts and word games to their level of ability," Renaud said. There's plenty of interaction, plenty of activities and mental stimulation.

"We also have a nutritious meal at lunch. We love to have parties, watch movies and make popcorn," Renaud explained.

The ADC is open from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. "Although some come in at 10, it's for the convenience of the family," she explained. Renaud works with about four volunteers as staff. She has set up a full schedule of activities each day. They have guest entertainers, therapy animals, foot care and a nurse that comes in on Thursdays.

In addition to the enrichment and nurturing offered to the clients at the ADC, it provides stress relief for the caregiver. "It's a break for the caregiver," Renaud said. "From the emotional and physical drain on the caregiver. I call it respite, but it's more than just respite care, it's sort of like a little club."

The number in the program fluctuates. Right now they have between five and eight but Renaud said they have the capacity to assist 25 and would like to see more people utilizing the program.

She would like to expand the activities to do more mental and physical stimulation. "Everybody likes a good challenge, she said." Renaud's background includes music and she'd like to see more stimulation through music. "The last thing to go is music," she said. "You see people with Alzheimer's who can't remember anything else but they can remember lyrics to really complicated songs." According to Renaud, the mental stimulation helps to slow the deterioration in some of the participants. So there's plenty of interesting, challenging activities for them.

"People come and entertain. We have therapy pets, parties, we send out for pizza, or get fried chicken from KFC. We also have a garden on the porch for people who like to garden.

"These activities help keep people home longer, helps the caregivers and it's a great service to the community.

"For those 45 and older, it's a place to come to give the caregiver a break and experience stimulative activities," Renaud explained.

The Adult Day Center can be reached at 509-527-0771.

Karlene Ponti can be reached by calling 509-526-8324 or by e-mail at karleneponti@wwub.com.

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