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Senior scene

July 21, 2012

From the Office: Delaware County has new program to help seniors, caregivers

Are you responsible for the care and well-being of a parent or elderly friend, relative or neighbor?

Do you long for an opportunity to have a day off to take care of chores or just pamper yourself but can't get away because of the responsibility of caring for your loved one?

Did you know that there is a new program in Walton that provides seniors with entertainment and a safe environment while giving the caregivers a much needed break?

Are you a senior citizen who feels isolated and longs for an opportunity to do crafts, meet new friends and share life experiences? Did you know that a new social club has formed that caters to those needs and desires?

"Our Place in Walton" Social Adult Day Center is a pilot program developed by the Delaware County Legacy Corps. The group meets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays at the Walton United Presbyterian Church on the corner of North and East streets. It is the only program of its kind in Delaware County.

Karen Marshfield, Delaware County Legacy Corps coordinator, directs the program. Patricia Breakey manages the day center and Janice Kehr coordinates the activities. A trained group of volunteers assist with all aspects of the program.

"Our Place" was designed to maintain a safe, attentive environment those in need of supervision or moderate assistance in their activities of daily living while providing social activities with contemporaries.

More than 50 million people provide care for chronically ill, disabled or aged family members during any given year, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Seventeen percent of family caregivers provide 40 hours or more of care a week, according to a study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP.

Many caregivers maintain a job while caring for someone else and often the care-recipient is isolated each day until their caregiver is able to stop by again. The care-recipients become sedentary, depressed and may begin to feel more like a burden. There are also caregiver and care-recipient situations of being together constantly and not taking time of respite from each other.

When the Social Adult Day Center opened May 23, the majority of those who attended were seniors who live independently and are completely self-sufficient, but are struggling with the lack of a social life. Most of them have worked all their lives and need something to keep them involved and active since their retirement.

The independent seniors were thrilled with the program, but couldn't afford the fees intended to for those in need of supervision and assistance, so a decision was reached to expand the program and add a social club where the members contribute what they could afford to help cover the costs of supplies.

"Our Place" holds sessions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and noon to 4 p. m. with two-hour overlap where both groups have lunch and take part in an exercise session. Lunch is provided by the Delaware County Senior Meals program. The fees for the care recipient program are $18 for a half day or $25 for the entire day.

The day begins with coffee, snacks and conversation in the library. The group then moves to the large dining room where the morning continues with a craft that keeps the group entertained until lunchtime.

The afternoon session includes musical entertainment, speakers, games and other activities.

Reservations are required to ensure that meals are ordered for everyone in attendance.

For more information about the care-recipient program or the social club or to volunteer, please call the Delaware County Office for the Aging at 746-6333 or Patricia Breakey at 865-5175.

Wayne L. Shepard is director of the Delaware County Office for the Aging. 'Senior Scene' columns can be found at

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