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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
And Welcome back to answers for elders radio. Everyone. I am here with some very special guests, Karen and amy from an Adult Day Services Company called Old Friends Club. That’s old friends club. I love that name. Ladies, welcome to the program. Thank you, Susan, thanks for having us. Thank you, Karen and amy. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know you a little bit through the last couple, you know, years, I guess, and one of the things that I think families were we’re all about Alzheimer’s month this year, Alzheimer’s awareness, and there’s a lot of families right now. I know that when Mr Bob Leroy has been here a couple of times from the Alzheimer’s Association, he shared that right now, here in the state of Washington, over five hundred thousand families are affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, whether it’s the actual, you know, patient themselves or a family member that’s caring for someone, and oftentimes that’s in the home and it can be very overwhelming and so a service like yours, which is nonprofit, I think, is a wonderful option for those in this area to understand that there is a way for those of us that are caregivers of seniors that we can actually, you know, take a break every once in a while and it’s good for your senior to have that kind of stimulation and with a skilled crew like you are to that they can spend their days with. So, Karen, I know you’re the founder of the organization. Tell me a little bit about how you guys came to be. Well, we started just two years ago after the closure of the adult day health program out incarnation. Hum that program have been running for twenty four years and when it was closed the families really had no other option, especially out in the rural community right even in home care is difficult to come by and they were counting on that service. And so Joan Wheeler, who leads the program out incarnation, she and I decided to keep going and those families switched over to our program we started two weeks after the closure of the previous while. That’s incredible. So you know people. I, like you said, adult day services is kind of it denotes daycare and you know, it’s much more involved in a program like what you do, where you really have skilled cat you know, still skilled staff that’s there and and people that are there to actually help, you know, serve your senior loved one and things like that. Tell us a little bit about what happens in a day and at your facility, amy. Do you want to tell me a little bit about that? It’s really it’s really lovely. You Walk in and it really is like an old friends club. It’s it’s warm, it’s welcoming, it’s a it’s a you know, local it’s in your local community and people have we do activities, we do movement, we serve lunch. It’s people feel included and they and the whole family can be involved. That’s incredible. And so the fact of the matter being is you can be involved. You can you can certainly counsel or have conferences if you’re family member and you you know, you’re concerned about your loved one. I’m sure that every single, you know, individual that comes in experiences their time with you. It’s kind of a unique, customized service to a certain degree, that you’re providing for them. It is they are they get a sense of independence that they often have lost because of the dementia. And we actually, yes, we involve the families, but we don’t we encourage the the caregivers to take that time sure for themselves, because absolutely that’s something that they really are lacking. Often Times they are twenty four seven, if especially if they’re working caregivers outside the home, and then they come home, and that’s a lot of two times. People are working, caring for family and then also caring for this family member. Because really, dementia, like you said, it’s a huge impact on the entire family. Tell you know what, what kind of information can you share with everyone about how it does impact the entire family? They come in and oftentimes they are at their ropes and the person who is experiencing dementia they are oftentimes at home watching TV much of the day. They’re very much isolated, and the caregiver is also very much isolated because their time is not their own anymore. Right. It’s overwhelming, it is. I remember when I was taking care of my mom and of course she didn’t have severe dementia, but she had some and oftentimes there were moments that embarrassed me, like to know in because I would take her out in public and different things like that and I’d want to crawl under the table sometimes because just you know, that was not who she was. In her, you know, in her life before, and so often times there’s just this feeling of weight on your shoulders. Is a family. I I mean I’m sure, amy, you meet with families, don’t you? Like in your role. That’s primarily one when I’ve actually I don’t usually meet with families. I meet them, but I don’t meet with them. Carroll as more of that. Okay, got it, but but it is a we like the the whole family is kind of plunged into confusion. The Huh. The person with Alzheimer’s or dementia obviously has some confusion that it’s a progressive disease, but also the whole family, I mean they could they’re plunged into this kind of new world where they don’t have the answers and the person with dementia doesn’t have the tools. You know, they get this new diagnosis and they don’t have the tools to deal with it, and then the family has to kind of scurry to find services and and resources, and so that’s where adult day and old friends club and memory care comes in. That’s amazing. So we are talking again with Karen and amy from Old Friends Club. Tell us the locations where your centers are are located. Well, our first one is in carnation where we meet at the told Congregational Church just down the road from the senior center there. Uh Huh. The second one is on the border of Kirkland and Redmond and Rose Hill at enemy meet there at the Lake Washington United Methodist h mum and your kind of you’re going to be opening a third location. Is that correct? Yes, the location has not yet been determined, but we have hired a fantastic person to lead that program. We are shooting to open that program November one. That’s incredible. It’s and you know, one of the things everyone that I always tell family caregivers that I work with all the time is it’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to in trust your loved one with a service like old friends club. You know, one of the things I think sometimes we feel like we have to do it all is a family caregiver and it’s like there’s this big feeling of overwhelm when you’re taking care of your loved one. And I will tell you right now you cannot give to that loved one that you do not have complete within yourself. It’s like I always say, you can’t give from an empty vessel. You’ve got to tab some own balance in your life as a family caregiver. And yet, you know, so many of us feel so responsible, like we have the world on our shoulders. And this is such an important resource for those of you who are carrying with someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia to be able to have the confidence to be able to bring someone to a facility like they have, a service like they have, and there’s a lot of benefits about that. And and now I want to talk about the benefits of, you know, the socialization aspect. I know when you talk, Karen, you were talking about isolation. Can you guys explain to me like a little bit about if a senior with the menshe’s isolated, what happens? Oh, they decline much more rapidly when they stay isolated. And also that caregiver who is isolated. Is it greater risk for health issues and depression and all these things. But what we see when people come to our program they they are full of doubt and they’re scared and they’re maybe guilty, but then they they walk in and they’re they’re welcomed and they’re welcome not just by the staff and the volunteer, but they’re welcome by the other members, right, and the members have found, you know, they be they found a place where they belong, hmmm, where they can greet other people, where they can help other people instead of only being helped. It gives them perfect and purpose. Yes, so within you know, it’s it’s there’s a transition time. People are very nervous about it for the first you know, sometimes people are right there right but sometimes it takes two or three weeks. But before long people are looking forward to that and the caregivers are figuring out that, yes, this is a place where they can trust and they can relax. Well, well, they’re loved. One is with us because they know that they’re taking care of and they’re having a good time. And the beauty of a service like you’re like old friends, Cup, is that you can drop mom or dad off, have a they know that they’re in very good hands, that they have purpose for the day, that they’re actually using their mind, they’re engaging in conversations, which is really important, and then you can pick them up at night and you can have that quality time with them, which is so important. So each day’s it’s a five hour day, mum. Much more than that is it, but too much for remember. Much less than that is not quite enough for the caregiver. Sure they when we encourage people to come at least twice a week, because that and that established as a routine and right and people more quickly gain trust and and really feel as if they belong. And that’s IT’S A it’s a time that the caregivers can depend on that they’ll have to take care of other things or themselves. MMMM, very good point. And really you know that social stimulation helps to slow down the progression and there’s so many benefits to that. I know also, isolation can bring about depression. It can bring about, you know, symptoms that you may not, as not a skilled, trained, you know professional, may not recognize. I know that coming into you know some of these centers, like old friends club, you know what was somebody’s around, you know your loved one semi regularly. They will begin to pick up on subtle subtleties that you, as an untrained professional, may not be able to do. So this is a very, very important piece to this. You know, this whole journey with Alzheimer’s Dementia, because it’s definitely a puzzle. We say. So we can come alongside that those caregivers in that journey and we can be partners in that carry. I love that. And extra eyes we can help identify when, when maybe there’s an infection going on in their behaviors are are off film charts and you know, caregivers don’t realize that an infection is not going to look the same way right. This is going to be different kind of behavior and sometimes it’s hard to differentiate from the dementia. Right. So how do we reach you guys, if you want, if you’re interested? So we have a website. It’s old friends club dot org. HMM, and we also have a phone number and it’s four to five, six, eight, one, nine, seven, seven, six, one, deerful. Yeah, and they can get more information and Karen’s available at that number and to meet with you or you can come visit. Well, and I just want to say a very special thank you for all that you do for our seniors here in greater puget sound. You guys are the angels of the world. I always say that are there for our seniors. So thanks again for being on the program. Thank you, thank you,
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.