Karin Johnson’s mother Dorothy, 86, often comes home singing Martin Luther Adult Day Center in Bloomington. Dorothy, who has dementia, spends weekdays at the center in a program for the elderly with memory problems or physical disabilities. It provides food, interaction, medication management and entertainment – all while giving participants’ relatives a much-needed break.
“She gets things there that she does not get when she’s just sitting in my house,” Johnson said of the Martin Luther program. “My mother is physically healthy, but she lives in her own little world. She often does not even know me most of the time – but she comes home and she wants to sing songs like ”Let me call you honey.‘It makes her happy. She even wants to sing for the dog. “
The Martin Luther Adult Day Center, modeled on a system designed to help seniors stay out of nursing homes, offers as many services as possible so attendees and their families can limit the number of places they travel.
Johnson said that while it can be hard work to take care of her mother, she would rather not have Dorothy to live in a nursing home, and having the day center available allows her to live with the family. “I’m a nurse,” Johnson said. “I want my mother here. I can take care of her.”
“This is a gift from me to me and my husband, and it’s good for mom, too,” Johnson said. “She does not go on the weekends, and when she is at home she just sleeps a large part of the day. She gets so much more when she’s there. ”
This fall, Fairview Health Services and Ebenezer Senior Living announced that they will collaborate to open a new adult program when St Joseph’s Hospital transitions to Fairview Community Health and Wellness Hub. The Adult Day program, which will work much like Martin Luther’s, but with improved service offerings, will provide care for the underprivileged, mostly low-income St. Paul seniors, and help them maintain an active and independent life. It opens sometime in 2022.
Jon Lundberg, president and CEO of Ebenezer, explained that when he and his colleagues heard about Fairview’s plans to reorganize and reopen St. Louis. Joseph’s as a health and wellness center, they offered a plan. “When work began on this project and we began to understand some of the things that were being considered there, we stepped forward to say, ‘This would be a great opportunity to integrate an adult day program,'” Lundberg said.
Fairview’s vision of combining a range of community support services in one building felt like a perfect match, he explained: “Focus on connecting with the community, being aware of providing services that enable people to thrive in the community in which they live. in, is well connected with the mission of an adult day program. ”
Lundberg said the fact that this program will share a building with a number of providers, including mental and physical health clinics as well as food access programs, feels exciting, as a step forward in comprehensive, community-based senior care.
“It allows us to do something that would be uniquely different in the adult community,” he said. “Most adult day programs these days are stand-alone, perhaps in a mall somewhere or on a long-term campus. There are not many adult day programs that have access to the range of resources and support that this program will have in Hub. ”
A unique opportunity
Most adult days are organized around a traditional structure, Lundberg explained. “A typical program provides various offers, access to meals and daily activities to engage people,” he said. “A really important feature of these programs is being able to provide socialization to the clients they serve and an opportunity for relatives to take a break or be able to continue working and know that their beloved is safe. “
The hub’s location and range of services will be a boon for the participants and their families. In addition to health clinics, pharmacy services will also be available, as will a food shelf. Ebenezer staff are also working to build relationships with other local social services and providers to further expand the number of daycare center opportunities.
“We would look at building partnerships with others in the local community, including Catholic charitiessaid Lundberg. “We also wanted to work with county social workers and various referral sources. And we will also work with our partners in the field of home care and hospice.
The new Adult Day Center will be located on the third floor of the hospital’s De Paul Tower, and the 1,500-1,600 square meter space will include a large meeting room where the program’s primary activities will take place, staff rooms, a kitchen for modest cooking and a bathing facility. for the participants. It will be large enough to provide services to 25-30 people at a time with as many as 75-100 customers on a rotating basis.
“It’s a really exciting perspective,” Lundberg said. “We believe we are perfectly placed for success.”
In PACE with the future
While the Ebenezer / Hub Adult Day Program can work independently, its founders say they designed it with the goal that one day can easily turn into a PACE, or the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, a federally funded program that provides comprehensive medical and social services to frail elderly people still living in the community. About 32 states have PACE programs, but the Minnesota State Legislature has not yet approved PACE here.
“Ideally, if we were driving the world, we would love to see PACE operate in Minnesota,” Lundberg said. “We would see this Hub as a great example of where we could start from to build the components of PACE to host a solid program on the PACE model.”
Kari Thurlow, Senior Vice President of Advocacy for Leading Age Minnesota, explained that PACE programs work much like the Martin Luther Adult Day Program in which Johnson’s mother Dorothy participates.
“The whole purpose of PACE is to provide integrated health and social services to vulnerable vulnerable seniors outside of traditional models such as a nursing home,” she said.
The program plays differently in each model, Thurlow explained. Often, an adult-day model meets all the needs of that person. “It mixes health care and social needs. Often, these are low-income and high-need people who really need fairly intensive treatment, but they want to do it outside the walls of a nursing home. ”
Minnesota was close to implementing PACE programs a decade ago, said Roni Falck, LeadingAges leader of adult day care. However, because PACE rates are subject to federal regulation, rates must be lower than nursing home rates. “Because we were so severely underfunded by state nursing homes, it did not make the PACE programs viable for funding,” said Falck, noting that Minnesota has improved nursing home funding structures since then, making the program more likely to be implemented.
The Fairview / Ebenezer program is carefully designed for PACE approval, Thurlow said. “They have all the building blocks in place.”
For those like Johnson’s mother Dorothy, such adult days can be a lifeline. When COVID forced the temporary shutdown of Martin Luther’s adult program, the effect was noticeable, Johnson said: “My mother’s dementia increased. She did not get the mental stimulation she had received there regularly.”
When the program finally reopened this year, Johnson and her mother eagerly returned. Dorothy now attends five days a week and gets breakfast and lunch. Although her mother’s condition has declined in the past year, Johnson said she still gets a lot out of the time she spends there.
“It’s really good for her – and for me. I can highly recommend it to people if they care for their loved ones at home. It’s so important to everyone – and it’s so much better than memory care.”
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