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Medfield's Adult Respite Care Program Up and Running After Months of Prep

"The Club at the Center" welcomed its first client in late March. The adult respite care program is open two days a week, either full-time or part-time, for Medfield residents.

Medfield's Council on Aging’s new respite care program – “The Club at the Center” – is up and running after welcoming its first client in late March and is ready to welcome more seniors to the program.

“This program is good for Medfield residents because there are a lot of community members caring for a loved one at home,” said Roberta Lynch, Director of the Medfield COA. “Those caregivers need a break and this program affords them an economical opportunity for respite care."

Currently, the program is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays for part-time ($20 a day) – 9 a.m. to noon with snack and lunch, or 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with lunch and snack – full-time ($35 a day) – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with two snacks and lunch – or for $50, including transportation.

The venture is being funded by a two-year $32,676 grant from the MetroWest Health Foundation. The hope is that the program will continue to grow and will ultimately be self-supporting.

The grant allows the COA to hire two part-time people to run the respite program: Grace Nunziato is the Program Coordinator, and Kathy Powers is an assistant. Both are Medfield residents.

“I am confident that the team efforts will provide a positive environment for the care recipient and allow the caregiver the much-needed respite that they should have,” said Lynch. “The Center is the perfect place for the first exposure to respite care and I am happy to finally offer this program, which only enhances the services that the Council on Aging already provides.”

Said Nunziato, who has experience working with senior citizens with dementia: “The purpose of the program is to engage the client here in social activity and engage them into some of the ongoing activities like arts and crafts, educational things like studying countries, listening to musicals, internet travel, engaging in book club."

Powers was recently a caregiver for a senior family member who passed away.  She said respite care available at The Club would have been something that could have helped her family.

“It would have been something that would have been nice,” she said, adding that she felt a ‘calling’ to work in the field of senior care.

The program is based in a “warm, cozy, secure atmosphere” of The Center at Medfield on Ice House Road. The room is set up like a studio apartment with tables and chairs, rocking chair and television, computers, and a place to have a snack. The clients start and end their day at The Club but will spend a good portion of their day exploring the many programs offered at the senior center.

“There’s a lot of mobility in this building,” said Lynch, clearly excited that The Club is up and running after months of preparation. “They’ll be going to the lunchroom for lunch, and outside to enjoy the patio … there’s a lot for them to do.”

According to The Club’s information brochure, the goals of The Club are to provide a caring, home-like setting to stimulate, engage, socialize, encourage, participate, exercise, reminisce and support seniors.

The program also offers support to caregivers, including much-needed free time, decreased stress, support group meetings, personal counseling, resources and referrals. 

The brochure also includes caregiving statistics:

  • 31 percent of family caregivers admit they would like more help
  • The average length of care giving is 4.3 years
  • Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are 120,000 people with Alzheimer’s in Massachusetts
  • Adult children taking care of parents has tripled since 1994
  • Caregivers wait too long to use respite to help prevent caregiver burnout
  • One third of family caregivers have symptoms of depression
  • People with moderate dementia have been able to defer institutionalization by nearly a year when their family members receive caregiver support services

For more information, contact Lynch at the Council on Aging at (508) 359-3665 or medfieldcoa@hotmail.com

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