SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – National Adult Day Services Week 2017 was celebrated Sept. 17-Sept. 23 and, at the Edison-based JFK Adult Medical Day Program, the awareness initiative featured various activities and entertainment.
“Our goal is to bring more awareness to adult medical care,” said Gloria Lopez, recreational therapy coordinator at the Progress Street facility. “We provide medical care but also socialization and recreational activities that are so important to those who come here.”
Back in 1983, late President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the third full week of September as Adult Day Services Week in recognition of the valuable medical services and social opportunities adult day care centers and their professional staff provide.
The theme of this year’s awareness initiative was ‘diversity’ and the JFK program kicked off the week on Sept. 18 with a special musical performance by Susan Hall of Entertainment Plus. During her hour-long visit, Hall delivered hand clapping and foot tapping renditions of classic songs by Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, etc. that had some attendees dancing in the aisles.
Along with daily scheduled activities such as bingo, art, jewelry making, singalongs, darts, and more, this year’s celebratory events also include a day trip, guest speakers, a Garden Club presentation, and a Motown Dance with a DJ.
“Current research shows that music and dancing greatly reduce the risk of being overtaken by dementia. Dancing has been studied, and has stacked up as a high percentage in front of all cognitive or physical activities in terms of reducing the risk,” said Program Director Mary Buglio. “We scheduled various music and dancing activities this week because music really is an international language.”
The JFK program offers medically supervised, health-related services along with recreational and social activities in a warm and friendly yet protected ambulatory care setting. Run Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the program is open to clients 18 years of age to 100-plus who may have suffered a stroke, or have Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia-related disorders as well as those who may be medically fragile.
“We have a diverse population and people of all ages and cultures. Everyone is welcome here,” said Buglio, adding, “We care for a lot of people with all different needs and, as people are living longer, we are seeing more of a need for these type of services.”
The JFK program consists of two tracks - the Medical Program, which is for clients who may be unable to stay home alone due to medication needs and/or physical limitations, and the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Program, which also accepts clients with developmental disabilities and clients who are incontinent.
The program is run by a medical director, program director, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, a social worker, and a recreational therapist who all follow guidelines set forth by a patient’s personal physician. Each staff member is dedicated and committed to enhancing a client’s quality of life and helping them avoid or postpone placement in a long-term care facility while, at the same time, providing attention, supervision, and, when necessary, assistance with personal care, eating, and other activities of daily living.
“Family members may not be able to care for their loved one during the day and may have a need for an affordable health care alternative,” she said, adding, “Sometimes, someone is just not well enough to stay home alone because of medical, cognitive or physical reasons.”
The JFK program is also dedicated to meeting clients’ social needs and offers a variety of structured group activities and individualized recreation therapy programs. In addition to special events like those held during Adult Day Services Week, educational programs, health and fitness activities, music and entertainment, games, and arts and crafts programs are offered daily as are cognitive problem solving activities proven to provide mental stimulation and reduce loneliness and depression for otherwise-isolated adults.
“For many of our clients, coming here becomes an important and vital part of their everyday life. Here, friendships are fostered,” said Buglio.
For Mary Heruska, a program attendee since 2011, the JFK Adult Medical Day Program gets her out of the house and provides socialization. “I really enjoy the activities we have and the games plus Gloria provides us with information on current events, and that’s so important,” said Heruska, adding, “Most of all I like the interaction and that I am not just siting around. Everyone is really sociable and the nurses and Gloria are great.”
Jenny Nommemacher, who first started attending the program three years ago due to a broken shoulder, agreed. “Coming here gets me out of the house. I get to socialize with the other ladies, mingle, and not be by myself. I enjoy the crafts and bingo.”
JFK’s Adult Medical Day Program is a non-profit, non-culturally specific program that is licensed by New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and a member of the National Adult Day Care Association.
According to Buglio, JFK’s program stands out from other adult day cares because of the overall quality of the services offered and the years of experience as a leader in the adult day care industry. It is one of the oldest in the state, formed in November 2009 with the merger of the Muhlenberg Adult Day Health Program (founded in 1983) and the JFK Hartwyck Adult Medical Day Center (founded in 1987).
“We offer a collaboration of services and have access to so many resources at our fingertips,” said Buglio, adding, “This Medical Day Care runs efficiently because we are a team. Everyone works together to take care of the those in the community who are most medically needy and fragile.”
Additionally, JFK also offers various support groups for caregivers, welcomes expert guest speakers and holds educational sessions throughout the year. For more information, contact Mary Buglio, program director, at (908) 912-1910 or visit www.jfkmc.org.
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