Tuesday, September 13, 2011
An adult daycare possibility
6:43 p.m. Today's project was to go visit Care Connexxus, an adult daycare center. Steve had sat patiently reading a book while I did a "virtual makeover" glamour appointment with a friend from caregiver class, in the same area of our city as the center.
I had heard glowing reports about this company located on Adams Street near Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, while attending a caregiver class sponsored by the Riverside County Office of Aging. The ladies who use the center are very happy with the care their husbands or parents receive. In fact, my customer had just dropped off her 81 year old father-in-law for his first day at Care Connexxus just before we arrived at her home!
The daily program at the center goes from 8:30-2:00 p.m., includes breakfast, lunch, any assistance needed, physical exercise, arts and crafts, and even a twice-monthly Bible study. Care Connexxus is not a residential home. The program provides help for caregivers who need to continue working during the week, and for retired caregivers, it allows time for them to take care of doctor appointments, grocery shopping and other errands that would be very difficult with an advanced dementia patient along. And frankly, most of our adult children work full time, care for their own kids, or don't even live in town. Friends who want to help come over when they can, but they have daily responsibilities of their own.
One special "sweetener" from the Lord is the center's activity director Megan Justice, whom we know from our Calvary Chapel Moreno Valley home fellowship group last season.
Why would I need adult daycare for Steve when I am retired and basically home, except for Bible study and facial appointments a few times a week? Well, the Lord has put it on my heart to begin another book, based on my blog entries about our experience with early-onset Alzheimer's--from a Christian woman's viewpoint. When author Carole Gift Page challenged me to do just that, I told her, "Your words are confirmation that it's of the Lord--I already have a title for it, and have been documenting pertinent blog entries for the last two years!"
Writing takes long hours of concentration and utter silence as you put your thoughts onto a word document, delete, re-write, add or take away. For the writing of Galatians: An Exploration of Faith & Freedom, friends Howard and Charlotte would invite Steve over for several hours at least once a week to work in their orchard, an activity he loved. I'd have uninterrupted time to write. Other friends did the same occasionally. Then Howard and Charlotte moved, bless their hearts, to be close to their only child and his family in Arizona. I'd do the same, honestly.
I was assured back in July by Genworth longterm care insurance that adult daycare is covered, as long as I provide a State license number to them. Transportation is also covered, if needed. Care Connexxus has several vans to pick up their participants and take them home. These convenient facts don't necessarily mean the Lord wants me to have Steve spend a day there from time to time, but the facts are encouraging, like the fact that all care staff are CNA's. (Certified Nurse Assistants).
Psalm 119:105 (NLT) says, very aptly for this time of decision,
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
As Megan led the two of us around the very large facility, we passed through the dining hall, full of the aroma of "Italian Chicken." Dietary limitations are considered if needed, which Steve doesn't. There are exercise areas, a living room, game and arts rooms. I think Steve was taken aback by the number of people in wheelchairs, but at least half of the people were fully capable of walking round on their own. Outdoor exercise is done daily, and there is half court basketball for those who are able. They have one of our favorite games, Wii, also.
We received paperwork for Steve's doctor to fill out, no problem, and I've already set up an appointment for him to get a TB test. When we finished our tour and I handed the papers to Steve, he tossed them on the floor in an upset gesture, but I just picked them up and handed them back to him. I heard Megan talking with him as I hurried rather urgently to the ladies' room.
As we finished our tour and stood outside, I clarified what Steve was thinking: that it was a rest home and that he'd be living there. As I comforted him I explained that no one lives there--it's 6 hours a day, for as many or as few days a week as a caregiver needs to utilize. Right now, I think one day a week would be enough. He understood then. My husband definitely qualifies for the center, because the only criterion is that a person can no longer live alone, whether from a physical standpoint or a mental one. With the confusion Steve has developed lately, he may be worse off than many of the people we saw today--it's just that he maintains his physical health and activity level to the point that he appears well on the outside. And I praise the Lord for that!
Once Steve realized that he might just be going once a week, he was much better about it, quite relieved, and he returned to being his regular pleasant, cooperative self. Our afternoon was fun and busy, with a trip to Empire lawnmower with my daughter's father-in-law John, who graciously hauled our mower (and us) in his beautiful "dualy" truck. Because I can finally walk like a regular person, as well as stand for a period of time, we stood out in our front yard gazing at the huge thunderheads above the nearby hills, something I haven't taken much time to do, even though Steve always calls my attention to shapes in the clouds.
Psalm 121:1 (NLT) says to me as I seek answers and decisions,
I look up to the mountains--
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth!