When it comes to taking care of an elderly family member many of us are sandwiched in between children, jobs and taking care of our own households. Many senior family members are not yet ready for a nursing home, but find themselves sitting in front of the television with little or no activity. There are many alternatives to a nursing home and many alternatives to paying someone to come into the home if that family member is still physically mobile. Some simple alternatives to a nursing home and also a relief to care givers are adult day programs. Many family members promise a parent that they will take care of them and will not allow them to die in a nursing home, but the on-going daily care or monitoring of that parent becomes overwhelming. Families are having to think creatively about caring for parents or for elderly family members, because there just isn’t enough money for 24 hour care. In choosing a program for a family member there are some simple things to consider. You need to determine the need of the aging family member and what services are important to you. Do they need assistance with daily tasks, exercise, mental stimulation? What do you as the care giver need? Occasional free time, coverage while working, transportation or just general support? Take some time to identify the adult day centers in your community. A great way to start this process is to contact senior services, a local non-profit in the Kalamazoo community. Develop a list of questions for the care facility to determine that it is the right location for your family member. Such questions to ask are, who owns the organization, years of operation, licensing or certification, hours of operation, cost, staff credentials, staff per participant ratio and any food menus? Once you have established answers to these foundational questions, then your best bet is to pay a visit, ask for references and also talk to people who have used the center before. Ultimately, you may just have to take the aging family member to the facility and try it out to see if that family member is comfortable and if this is the right environment for them. There is one important thing to remember when caring for a family member, you need to take care of yourself because if you become ill or stressed out then your ability to take care of that family member will end.
The following is a list of local Senior Day Programs in the Kalamazoo area:
1. Covenant Senior Day Program: St. Michael Lutheran Church, 7211 Oakland Drive Portage, MI 49024, Phone: (269) 324-3250
2. Oakland Centre: 2255 W. Centre Ave., Portage, MI 49024, Phone: (269) 373-3200
3. Shepherd’s Center of Kalamazoo: 1833 South Burdick Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49001, Phone: 269-383-1122
4. Senior Services of Southwest Michigan, 918 Jasper Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49001, Phone: (269) 382-0515
Goudy Bookletter 1911