Members of the adult day care program at the YWCA go on a walk. Some form of exercise is worked into programming each day at the center. (Courtesy of YWCA)

Adult day care supports socialization of seniors


YWCA Bethlehem Adult Day Services Center provides a program for seniors and their families called “adult day care,” an all-day program for seniors to socialize and participate in age-appropriate activities.

The center works with families to provide the best professional care, focusing on seniors who are living independently.

Yvonne Toth, director of the Adult Day Services Center, said the program’s founding in 1984 was a first in Northampton County.

The day program runs Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Toth said their days are very structured, with 30 seniors enrolled in the daycare program.

Toth said the day starts with the Pledge of Allegiance, as many seniors are patriotic and some are veterans. After, there is a current events discussion, exercise classes or a cognitive game followed by lunch and more activities.

“The seniors participate in anything that we can get them to do. Everything from cooking to card games, bingo, balloon volleyball, kickball, shuffleboard and any kind of carnival game you can think of,” Toth said. “We also do a lot of cognitive strengthening games, like word searches, crossword puzzles and lots of trivia.”

Many of the center’s clients are living with dementia or other challenges of aging, which makes it difficult for them to interact with the community. To help, the center brings the community to the seniors by having music therapists, pet therapists, a visiting zoo or the local library come for visits.

Toth emphasized the importance of maintaining a connection with the seniors’ families.

“We always try to connect at both ends of the day,” Toth said. “Every week, I always send a weekly email to the caregivers just letting them know what’s going on in the program.”

Toth said the program differs from comparable, but pricier and medically-focused local adult day programs with doctors on staff.

According to Toth, the adult day care program is more economical than home care or skilled care like nursing homes.

“At our program, they’re still in the community, they’re not in a skilled facility,” Toth said. “They’re socializing everyday, and their caregivers are able to go to work.”

The center charges a flat fee, which includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and a full day of activities. The center also offers options to assist with paying for the program, such as the Community Health Choices waiver, which pays for home and community-based services.

The county also has a program called OPTIONS, which will help cover costs based on income. Some long-term care insurance plans will also reimburse the costs.

For Program Director Anna Holmes, the best part of her job is interacting with the clients and her relationships with them.

“The most important part of my job is making sure that they are comfortable, and I can attend to their needs,” Holmes said. “If they come to me with something, I can talk to them, and let them know that everything is OK to put their mind at ease.”

Rita Rusden has been a program member for over six months. Rusden said the day-to-day schedule, as well as the members and the staff, are her favorite parts of coming to the center.

“I enjoy the way that they operate because it’s not sitting all day in one room. You go from one room to the other, eat in one room, make decorations and crafts,” Rusden said. “It’s a very active program, and it’s very friendly, very clean and has a very good, considerate staff.”

Another member of the program, George Maureka Jr., said he enjoys the day care’s activities, especially trivia, music and bingo. Maureka has been to four other adult programs and said this is the best experience by far because of the people at the center.

“There’s a wonderful comradery that’s developed between everybody, client and staff member alike,” Toth said.

Sometimes when the seniors leave, they’ll tell a staff member about what a good day they had.

For Toth, that’s the best part of her day.

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