Adult Day Services can ease strain for loved one, caregiver

ST. MARYS – Taking care of an adult loved one with progressive physical or cognitive disabilities can be frustrating for both the adult and the caregiver at times. A program called Adult Day Services can give caregivers respite and provide a quality atmosphere for older adults who can no longer be left alone for long periods of time-- and now area residents may take advantage of a trial run. Adult Day Services, under the agency Community Nurses, Inc., provides a home away from home during weekly workday hours for older adults who cannot safely stay alone due to a physical impairment, memory loss or another effect of aging. Located at 625 Maurus St. across from Elk County Catholic High School in St. Marys, the program runs from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and provides activities, socialization, personal care and nutrition services by qualified staff, including Program Director Linda Bankovich, L.P.N., who has extensive experience working with older adults. "It's a wonderful program for the elderly and their families, and a lot of people don't know about it," Bankovich said. "It gives the older adults their own socialization outside of family." The trial period is offered to area residents for a limited time and can be arranged by contacting Bankovich at 781-8253. "It's a free, 10-visit trial that they can use over a month's time. It's mainly for the older adults just to give them a taste of what we do here and what we have to offer," Bankovich said. "There's no obligation-- if they come for two visits or 10 visits and decide it's not for them, we won't be bugging them or anything. We're just trying to build our program and make the community more aware that it is actually here and that we do offer such a program."Bankovich said Adult Day Services strives to be an affordable alternative for families who need to provide care for a loved one who is not ready for an assisted living facility or nursing home, but who still needs supervision. The benefit of Adult Day Service, Bankovich said, is that adults can take advantage of a variety of activities, including cards, games, and entertainment, while in a safe setting. Their caregivers can take some time to get tasks accomplished, run errands, or simply have some much-needed time to themselves. Adults can come to Adult Day daily from Monday to Friday, all day, or for a few days or hours a week as needed. This flexibility, Bankovich said, provides a solution for almost every family.