Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CNI's Adult Day Program Brings Mother and Daughter Closer

Three years ago, Kathryn Longhi’s husband Angelo passed away suddenly. For Kathryn, who had begun to show signs of memory loss, coping with the change proved difficult.

“Mom stayed at the house for awhile by herself,” said Carol Longhi, her daughter. “I was always afraid she’d fall. She had Lifeline, but wouldn’t use it. Mom used to be a very hard-working lady who’d do everything. But now she has degenerative joint disease and arthritis, so it’s hard for her to get around. She also has a vascular disease in her brain that is causing dementia.

“Mom called one day and told me that she didn’t like being alone. She said she had been feeling lonely. In November 2008, she moved in with me. With me working full-time, Mom would just sit and watch television all day. It just broke my heart.”

After speaking with someone at the Office of Human Services to find out what her options were, Carol called Deborah Dubler, the former director of the Adult Day program at Community Nurses, Inc.

“I work in health care, so I know the caliber of their work ethic,” she said of Community Nurses. “I trust them, and believe me when I say that I wouldn’t trust my Mom with just anyone.”

Mrs. Dubler urged Carol to bring Kathryn in and see if the program would be a good fit for her. In the spring of 2009, Mrs. Longhi began attending Adult Day during the morning hours. Six months later, she began attending on a full-time basis.

The rest, Carol says, is history.

“Adult Day has been a godsend for her,” Carol said. “There is consistency, which is important for Mom. They engage her and stimulate her mind. She participates in activities of all kinds and has people with whom she can talk and interact. I am absolutely convinced that her disease has not progressed as rapidly as it would have without Adult Day because she’s active. On the weekends, she doesn’t know what to do with all of her time. But when she’s at Adult Day, she’s happy.”

Adult Day is a program for adults who have a physical or mental impairment. Through the Adult Day Services program, clients are offered therapeutic activities, socialization, exercises, personal care, health monitoring and proper nutrition. The program also provides relief for caregivers such as Carol and her brother, Richard, who must work or attend to other responsibilities or who may need a break from the demands of providing daily care.

“The caregivers here at Adult Day treat each person as individuals and bring out their best attributes,” Carol said. “They help me with the day-to-day responsibilities, and that means that the quality time Mom and I spend together at home has more of an emphasis on ‘quality.’ That means a lot to both of us. I feel very fortunate to have Adult Day.”

“Before I came [to Adult Day], it was awful,” Kathryn said. “I was lonely. I know that I was scared. But my daughter was sure that it would be good for me and I love my daughter. I don’t know what I would do without this place. I think I would watch a lot of television. This place is wonderful. My friends are here and we do everything together. I love everyone here.”

Clients can take part in Adult Day Services between 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Adult Day Services center is located at 625 Maurus Street across from Elk County Catholic High School.

For more information, click here. If you would like to visit the Adult Day Services center, call them at (814) 781-8253.