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Adventist Health Lodi Memorial Adult Day Services: When Caregivers Need Care Too

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According to an AARP/National Alliance of Caregiving survey, an estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States provide unpaid care to a loved one. Being a full-time caregiver for aging or recovering loved ones is a role that requires a 24/7 commitment. For many families, this means few days off, mental and physical toll and potential damage to personal health and relationships. The number one rule of being a caregiver is to know when to ask for help; thanks to a special place in Lodi, caregivers and loved ones alike are getting the care and respite they need.

For 27 years, Adventist Health Lodi Memorial Adult Day Services has provided safe, loving, healthy and supervised options for adults who can’t be alone throughout the day. Located at the Lodi Community Center at Hutchins Street Square, the Adult Day Services program provides stimulating care through a variety of daily activities with a goal of providing a nurturing atmosphere for the participants. It also offers peace of mind for the caregivers of older and disabled adults who cannot fully care for themselves.

Source of Respite Care
Part of Adventist Health, the Lodi Memorial Adult Day Services program runs Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; participants can attend as many or as few days of the week as they like. Adventist Health is a faith-based, not-for-profit integrated healthcare delivery system that is focused on preserving the traditions of patient-centered care; a philosophy that has been nurtured for more than 90 years.

The Adult Day Service’s director, Terri Whitmire, has been a beacon of hope for hundreds of families who find themselves in caregiving roles for loved ones recovering from medical circumstances such as stroke or struggling with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Terri and her team have worked tirelessly since the center opened in 1990 to provide a safe and nurturing place for their program participants, and give options for adult children who are on the brink of exhaustion from the demands of being a full-time caregiver.

“This program is in place as much for the caregiver as it is for the participant,” she noted. “In my 27 years here, I’ve seen many caregivers who are so immersed in doing everything and being everything for their loved one that they forget to take care of themselves. Their own health can suffer and they can become irritable, overwhelmed and unhappy. Most people don’t make themselves a priority and it becomes a draining cycle. This program is in place to give families a much-needed break while providing a place for mom or dad to enjoy camaraderie, laughter and stimulation.”

Medical Monitoring
Participants are able to enjoy the benefits of music therapy, arts and crafts, group activities and a healthy meal, and medical conditions can be monitored on-site. The center’s staff members are trained in basic medical support, including blood pressure monitoring, fall prevention, assistance with medications and prescribed physical therapy exercises. While the program greatly benefits older and disabled adults who cannot fully care for themselves, it also provides caregiving families support services.

“We act as another set of eyes and ears for the families,” Terri confirmed. “Since we work so closely with our participants on exercise, fall prevention and cognitive activities, we notice when something unusual happens with breathing, balance and cognition. When we notice these changes, no matter how big or small, we alert the family immediately so the proper medical care can be sought. We want to help families stay on top of their loved one’s health issues so trips to the ER can be avoided.”

Here to Help
The program is an affordable option that allows family members and spouses to keep their loved one busy and stimulated, which often leads to enhanced overall health. “We want the residents of San Joaquin County who are in a caregiver role to know that they don’t need to wait until they are exhausted to come to us for help,” Terri concluded.

“We know how difficult this journey can be, so we also offer Adult Children with Aging Relatives/Care Providers, a support group that allows caregivers to talk to those in similar situations and offer support. The most rewarding part of my job is not only watching our participants flourish, but seeing families take the first step to seek out the help and support they need for their own health and well-being. ” ■

To learn more about the Adventist Health Lodi Memorial Adult Day Services, visit or call 209-369-4443.

Adult Day Services Gives Joe Rivieccio a New Lease on Life
When Roseanna Martin’s 88-year-old father, Joe Rivieccio, was diagnosed with dementia, she and her family were crushed. Joe used to be the life of the party, singing, laughing and joking all the time. After his diagnosis, Joe became a stranger, prone to fits of yelling and arguing with those who loved him most. Doctors said Joe would never be the same as he was before the dementia; they believed it.

Roseanna worried that her father’s dementia was getting worse from his lack of mental stimulation, and his muscles were getting weaker from his refusal to participate in physical activity. Roseanna’s mother took on the role of full-time caregiver until she became ill herself.

Roseanna and her siblings took turns watching after Joe while their mother recovered, but when it became too much for everyone to handle, she finally had her family’s approval to take Joe for a visit to Adventist Health Lodi Memorial’s Adult Day Services program.

Roseanna knew Joe and her family would benefit from the help of the Adult Day Services program, but she had no idea it would help slow the progression of Joe’s dementia too. Establishing a consistent routine early for dementia is key, which is what the staff did for Joe, providing a comfortable, familiar schedule.

Joe started attending Adult Day Services in January 2017, and now he’s there two to four times a week. Joe plays brain-stimulating games and activities to improve his memory, and the exercise for his mind also encouraged his social side again. “He’s a different man now,” Roseanna says. “More like the father I remember.”