The positive energy at the Bethany House, an adult day health care facility in Taunton, is promoted by director Phoebe Worcester and exemplified in her staff.
"We offer a high quality of life activity to people who if they weren't here would most likely be in a nursing home," explained Worcester
, herself a registered nurse.
The Bethany House offers a unique setting that allows not only the ability for an aging loved one to be taken care of during the day, said Worcester
, but also the facility itself is a medical daycare.
Physical and occupational therapy are just some of the treatments woven in with therapeutic activities; even diets are monitored carefully.
Acknowledging that most insurance companies, including Medicare, do not fund adult day health services, Worcester will push for seniors to contact Bristol Elder Services as a potential resource for monetary aid.
"It's a wonderful service because it taps the senior into the local senior services provider," said Worcester
, "and if they're not eligible for daycare, then they may be eligible for some other services like Meals on Wheels or a homemaker."
shared a story of one elderly couple that was referred by Bristol Elder Services
and are benefitting from the daycare program.
walks with a cane, and brings her
in by car, walks her
in and she's
here for the day," said Worcester
cites a story of an elderly mother who has two daughters living at a great distance and who lives at home
with the beginning stages of Alzheimer's; the mother has a personal home health aid who meets the bus at the end of her
day at the Bethany House.
"The daughter is so grateful that it's a consistent, structured environment," said Worcester
"The best slowing down process for Alzheimer's is to have a structured environment, so we always encourage Alzheimer's patients to come as many days as they can.
They usually improve when they start coming, for a while anyway; it's the best slowing down process to their disease."
Both women said they become the eyes and ears of the family members.
Sullivan said it comes with the territory that her day doesn't always end at four o'clock, and Worcester
explained the collaboration between her staff and the resident's personal doctors.
It is a medical model," said Worcester
Yet within all the monitoring, there is some fun.
The activities director at the Bethany House creates monthly calendars full of themed events that currently have the residents working on floats for Mardi Gras.
"We try to make it a fun place to be, all the while overlooking their medical and personal needs," said Worcester
Twice a month, eighth graders from Taunton Catholic Middle School visit Bethany House and sit with the residents and engage them in activities, said Worcester
Additional resources cited by Sullivan and Worcester
include Bristol Elder Services (www.BristolElder.org) and Veterans
Administration Aid and Attendance (www.VeteranAid.org), a monetary aid program available for veterans of WWII or the Korean War and/or their spouses to help offset the cost of home or assisted living care.