Mary Ann’s Story: Living Independently with Early Alzheimer’s

Adult Day Club (ADC) member, Mary Ann, began showing signs of early–stage Alzheimer’s disease several years ago. Although she still lives alone and is capable of managing many of her own daily living needs, her cognitive abilities continue to decline. As helping their mother remain living independently at home becomes more challenging, daughters Cheryl and Carrie have discovered the benefits of adult day services. We spoke to Cheryl and Carrie about their experience as caregivers and their mother’s transition to our program.

Initially, your mom thought the Club was unnecessary and she was resistant to becoming a member. What changed her mind?
She thought all of the people would be “old” and that she wouldn’t fit in. We finally persuaded mom to attend after telling her that she would be able to help others. We also told her how nice the staff was, how wonderful the programs sounded, and that she would get snacks and a hot lunch and maybe even make some friends. Maria Keenan, the Adult Day Club manager, suggested this approach. She always makes our mom feel like she has been useful, and always thanks her for “her help” that day, as do the other staff members.

As her children and caregivers, did you have any apprehensions about enrolling your mother?
We were nervous that our mom would not interact with other members, and that she would be unhappy that we left her for the day. We also weren’t sure if some of the programs would be of interest to her.

How has attending the Adult Day Club improved your mother’s quality of life?
We know that the staff looks after her and that they truly care about the attendees. They are always so attentive and friendly, and never seem to be stressed or impatient with anyone. We appreciate that they anticipate her needs and make her feel comfortable. It is reassuring to us that she is in a safe, environment for the day, that she is eating, and that she is socializing with people her own age and having a good time.

Would you recommend the Adult Day Club to other people in a similar situation?
We would most definitely recommend the ADC to other family caregivers. The staff and manager are truly angels. They all care a great deal about the attendees, which was evident to us from the beginning. It is truly a special place!

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